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Safe Bet?

7th October 2016

Guest blogger Rahima, 17, wants young people to take a moment to make more informed choices about whether they gamble or not.

Just putting it out there – any gambling is risky. Make no mistake, you are relying on chance and you cannot predict the future. Of course, this is part of the thrill – you might win! But remember, you can lose too, and sometimes that means losing more than money.

Gambling doesn’t have to be ‘good’ or ‘bad’ - for many people it’s just fun. But sometimes, and sometimes very quickly, problems can develop.

I believe that the first step to avoiding a problem with gambling is accepting that the majority of the time, you will lose no matter what. If you know this, putting a time and/or spending limit in place before you start can help you stay in control of your gambling - you can ask someone to look out for you too. Gambling in the right frame of mind is key too – just like with alcohol, if you’re feeling down to start off with, gambling won’t make you feel better.

If you are approaching gambling when you know about the risks involved and what can be done to minimise them, you are making an informed choice.

However, if you are chasing losses, borrowing money to gamble or you notice that you feel guilty or ashamed of how much time or money you are dedicating to gambling, talk to GamCare. They can help you find perspective, and support you if you want to control your gambling or stop altogether.

For young people, peer pressure to gamble can be a big problem – like so many other things, it can feel like if everyone else is doing it, you should too. That’s not fair to anyone – if you’d rather not gamble, then don’t!

My last thought is that legal ages are there for a reason – to protect young people. Don’t feel patronised, but those are the rules and they are there to keep you safe. For more info, take a look at


The National Gambling HelpLine is available every day from 8am – Midnight on Freephone 0808 8020 133 or via web chat on our NetLine.

For information on our other support services click here.