If you’re at all like me, you like a little vice in your life. However, they’re called vices for a reason – they can seriously mess you up. So, in order to keep that from happening, I implement what I call my “chaos in a box” theory. All it means is that I like to enjoy vices in moderation, and in a controlled environment. For example, if I want to drink beyond the point of tipsy, I’ll do it on a weekend night, and not be driving.
I also enjoy gambling from time to time. There, creating the “box” is a little more complicated, especially if you’re doing some big casino gambling in Vegas. There’s the free drinks and the ATM machines, and urge to win back what you’ve lost. However, it’s not impossible; here’s how.
How to Stick to a Casino Gambling Budget in Las Vegas
Only Do Casino Gambling, At Real Establishments
This one’s easy. If you have poor impulse control, avoid online casino games or other kinds of virtual gambling. Don’t bet at shady places (online or not), under any circumstances. Only gamble at legitimate, licensed establishments. This ensures that you won’t get beat up and that you actually have to physically leave at some point.
Assume Money Gambled Is Money Lost
Forget the movies. Unless you’re a card-counter or something like that, the odds are not in your favor, especially over the long run. Casinos are businesses that stay in business by turning a profit, and they do that by making the rules of the games such that the mathematical odds are more than 50%, in their favor.
Although there are methods to tilt the odds your way (such as card-counting in blackjack), these are for professional gamblers and will probably get you kicked out of the casino if you’re caught.
So, unless you’re an extremely sophisticated bettor, the assumption should always be that all money gambled is money lost – you’re just paying for entertainment, not trying to make money.
Don’t Chase Comps
If you gamble enough, most casinos (especially those attached to hotels) will give you free stuff (“comps”). This can be meals, suites, and even flights and limousines. Don’t gamble more in order to chase these “gifts” – after all, the casino will only keep them flowing if it’s making more money from you than the comps are costing it.
Use Cash, No Plastic or Credit Lines
Here’s the big one. Unless you’re very disciplined, the way to control your spending (losses) is as follows:
1. Set a budget – how much will you spend? Let’s say $200 per day for a Las Vegas gambling blowout weekend.
2. Before going to the casino, count out $200 in your home or hotel room, in cash. Put it in your pocket, plus some more for incidentals like cabs and whatnot.
3. Leave your ATM card at home or in the in-room safe.
4. Go play. Pay for non-gaming expenses with credit cards.
This way, if and when you run out of cash, you won’t have easy access to more. You’ll be forced to go to your room for your ATM card, by which time you’ll probably have cooled down and won’t be as tempted to come back to those casino games.
If this (or some other method) does not work, do not gamble.
Summing It Up
Like exotic cars, vices are both fun and dangerous. Most can be safely enjoyed in moderation (or else should not be enjoyed at all).
For gambling, I’ve found that the method I’ve laid out is a good way to have some fun, but at the same time avoid that temptation to him the ATM when your luck’s run dry.
How do you control your Las Vegas gambling budget? What are your favorite casino games?
*All GIFs from Giphy
Last updated on February 26, 2019.