The "Science" of Gambling Responsibly

Sports wagering is one of the hottest topics on the market today, with the perceived allure of being able to get rich quick—or, at the very least, pick up some extra spending money—drawing in millions of customers across the United States, no matter if they’re die-hard fans to begin with or only just dipping their toes into the industry. Those blanket statements cause quite a bit of misunderstanding, so it’s a good idea to read up on what you should and shouldn’t do before diving headfirst into the industry. Though this maybe isn’t really a “science,” we think talking about how to gamble responsibly is a topic for any blog out there, especially considering the rise of its popularity around the world. 

While the potential to win big using your knowledge of sports is tempting for just about anyone, it’s critical to do so in a manner that is responsible and takes adequate care of your mental health. Now that sports betting is legal in North Carolina, here’s everything you need to know to ensure that you participate in a reasonable manner.

Never Bet Anything You Can’t Afford to Lose

This is an excellent adage to apply to any facet of life, not just the sports betting industry. When planning to place a sports bet, ask yourself if you’d be able to financially survive the pitfall of losing that money entirely. Furthermore, thinking of buying a new television, investing in the stock market, getting a slightly more expensive car than the one you’d originally planned on while hanging around at the dealership? If you wouldn’t be able to maintain your current quality of life, pay the bills or buy food if the extra money you’d end up spending were to turn to dust tomorrow, don’t spend it.

Winning is far from guaranteed when it comes to sports betting, and they say that the house always wins for a reason. Don’t take extra risks by betting money that you need in order to pay the bills, because there’s a high chance you’ll end up missing out on it entirely.

Don’t Let Taxes Blindside You

Another thing to keep in mind is that, unless you win massive amounts of money in a single sitting (typically to the tune of 20 or 30 times the amount of the bet you placed, like you might see with parlay odds or futures bets months ahead of a major event like the Super Bowl), the sportsbooks aren’t going to automatically deduct the money you owe in taxes from a winning payout.

Sports betting counts toward your annual income just like any other form of revenue, and you’ll have to pay taxes on the amount you win when April 15 rolls around. By the same token, you can deduct the amount of money you lose from your taxable income if you end up in the red at year’s end. 

Keeping careful track of the money you win and lose has more benefits than just getting you ready for tax day without having to retroactively scroll through pages upon pages of statements from the various betting apps you use as the deadline bears down on you. It’s good financial practice to begin with, as having an idea of your success and failure as a bettor—and keeping close tabs on the amount of money you’re putting at risk—makes it far easier to keep a level head and know when it’s time to take a break.

Designated Breaks

Speaking of breaks, one feature that most sportsbook apps employ these days allows you to do just that. If you feel that you need to step away from sports betting for awhile, whether because you need to be more careful with your finances, because you feel that you’re spending too much time on betting apps, or because you simply want to take a break from it all, these apps will let you trigger a voluntary cooldown period.

Often lasting a minimum of 90 days but extended up to five years or longer if that’s what you feel is necessary, there are a number of different ways to trigger these bans depending on which state you live in. States like New Jersey make it possible to request self-exclusion from any casino in the state, contacting the gaming board itself to help you get the break you need… and making it harder to skirt the policy by picking up where you left off with another sportsbook. 

Most of the time, you’ll have to go through each individual app in order to request the opt-out period. Another good feature about these voluntary bans is that it isn’t possible to renege on your decision through loopholes or opting back in. You have to wait for the cool down period to end in order to get back to wagering, giving you all the time you need to maintain a level head.

Written by Austin Crane

Austin is the principle web director for Untamed Science and Stone Age Man. He is also the web-director of the series for the High School biology, Middle Grades Science and Elementary Science content. When Austin isn't making amazing content for the web, he's out on his mountain bike or in a canoe.

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