Georgia Responsible Gambling

Legal sports betting’s popularity has grown exponentially. Over the past three years, close to two dozen states have legalized betting on sports.

Although Georgia has yet to legalize sports betting, the movement is gaining steam in a state where there are four professional sports teams.

Amid this tide of support, it’s important that players and sports betting operators understand the importance of responsible gambling. Compulsive gambling is a legitimate concern that should be taken seriously through education and awareness.

Learn what responsible gambling is, what problem gambling is, and the available resources local and national organizations offer to those who need help.

What is responsible gambling?

To gamble responsibility means to implement a system of checks and balances that ensures you have a good time without falling into the habits that can lead to problem gambling.

A few reliable rules for gambling responsibly include:

  • Only bet what you can afford to lose
  • Set limits on how long you’ll play and how much you’ll wager
  • View gambling as a recreational activity, not a source of income
  • Take breaks during betting sessions
  • Don’t bet when you’re upset or stressed
  • Know how the games work before you place a bet

These tips aren’t a guarantee that you’ll avoid problem gambling, but they’re tried-and-true habits that help you enjoy sports betting. Nobody is immune to problem gambling, which is why every bettor needs to have a responsible betting plan.

What is problem gambling?

At first, it can be tough to pin down exactly what defines problem gambling. Can you bet for hours and not be a problem gambler? Is it an issue if you’re betting every day? Do you have to be addicted to be a problem gambler?

Simply put, problem gambling is when a bettor starts experiencing negative consequences from their gambling that go beyond the usual temporary frustration over losses.

While the definition of problem gambling may not be exactly the same from organization to organization, there are some clear signs that a gambler may have a problem:

  • Inability to cut back or control when and how much is bet
  • Risking more and more money to get a rush
  • Lying to loved ones about gambling
  • Gambling becomes an escape from life’s problems
  • Loses a job because of gambling
  • Has to borrow money to mitigate gambling losses
  • Steals to generate betting money
  • Sacrificing basic needs to gamble

Georgia resources for responsible and problem gambling

If you’re concerned that you or someone you know is dealing with gambling problems, Georgia has a pair of resources that can help.

The Georgia Department of Health and Behavioral Disabilities (DBHDD) has a network of local offices gamblers can contact for recovery help. The department’s approach to recovery takes the whole person into account, factoring in age, personality, past experiences and an individual’s strengths and weaknesses.

If the need is more immediate, gamblers can call the Georgia Crisis and Access Line at 800-715-4225 to receive intervention services.

Another important resource is the Georgia Council on Problem Gambling (GCPG). The organization has a 24-hour hotline (800-522-4700) you can call that’s dedicated to gambling addiction. Call center staff have gambling-specific training and experience.

The GCPG also provides workbooks, other educational materials and referrals to counselors in the International Certified Gambling Counselors network. The council can provide referrals to local doctors, too.

National resources for responsible and problem gambling

Some of the more prominent national resources for problem gambling include:

  • National Council on Problem Gambling: An organization with wide-ranging resources on a national and state-by-state level. One of two organizations that founded Problem Gambling Awareness Month.
  • National Problem Gambling Helpline: Offers information to gamblers and family members via phone and text (at 800-522-4700), or through their website-based chat. Resources include information and counseling and other resources available in the gambler’s local area.
  • Gamblers Anonymous: An online and in-person network of gambling support groups. GA offers a helpful 20-question survey to identify compulsive gambling.
  • Gam-Anon: A support group for loved ones of compulsive gamblers.
  • GamTalk: An active internet community made for compulsive gamblers who need a place for 24-7 support. The site features chat rooms for members and moderated scheduled chat sessions with gambling counselors

Importance of responsible gambling

Though it’s hard to predict when sports betting will become legal in Georgia, bettors can get ahead of the game by learning about responsible gambling now.

There are excellent online and in-person resources at the local, state, and national levels that you can take advantage of now. Knowing how to gamble responsibly is the smartest bet you can make as you prepare for sports betting to launch in the Peach State.