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What if I lost more than I won gambling?

Should I be worried about losing money gambling?

Losing money when gambling is a common occurrence. Most people who gamble for entertainment end up losing some money in the long run. However, there are some warning signs that your gambling may be becoming problematic:

  • You are gambling with money you can’t afford to lose, such as rent or grocery money.
  • You need to gamble increasing amounts of money to get the same feeling of excitement.
  • You try to win back losses by gambling more.
  • You lie to loved ones about how much you gamble.
  • Gambling is causing you serious problems in your relationships, job, or finances.

If you recognize some of these signs in yourself, it may indicate you are developing an unhealthy addiction to gambling. Compulsive gambling is a serious issue that can ruin finances, relationships and mental health. If you are worried you may have a gambling problem, consider seeking help from a gambling addiction counselor.

Why do most people lose money in the long run?

The simple reason most gamblers lose money over time is because gambling favors the house. Casino games like slots, roulette, craps, and blackjack all have built-in mathematical edges that give the casino better odds of winning. Sports betting and poker rely on skill more than pure chance, but sportsbooks and poker sites also build in a house edge to guarantee profits.

Very few gamblers are able to beat the house edge over thousands of bets. The longer you gamble, the more likely you are to lose money. Gambling is best seen as entertainment and not as a way to consistently win money. Going in with the mindset of losing a limited amount of disposable income can help keep gambling fun and safe.

How much money can I expect to lose?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer, as this depends on what games you play, how often you gamble, your skill level, and your luck. However, casinos typically aim to hold onto 2% to 10% of the total amount wagered.

So if you spend $1,000 gambling, you will likely lose on average between $20 to $100. This hold percentage (also known as house edge) varies based on the specific game:

Game Typical House Edge
Slots 2-10%
Blackjack 0.5-2% if using perfect strategy
Roulette 2.7% (European) to 5.26% (American)
Baccarat 1-1.5% on banker bets
Craps 1-2% on simple bets, 2-3% on one-roll bets

As you can see, the house advantage ranges widely based on the game. Skill-based games like blackjack and poker offer better odds, while games of pure chance like slots and roulette are harder to win at.

How can I minimize my losses when gambling?

Here are some tips to cut down on how much you lose when gambling:

  • Set a budget for how much you can afford to lose before going to the casino, and stick to it.
  • Avoid chasing losses by betting bigger after losing.
  • Know the house edge of games you play and focus on those with better odds.
  • Take frequent breaks to avoid marathon gambling sessions.
  • Don’t drink alcohol when gambling as it can cloud judgement.
  • Only gamble with money you can afford to lose – not rent or bill money.
  • Balance gambling with other activities so it doesn’t become unhealthy obsession.

Using good bankroll management, smart bet sizing, and self-control can reduce the house edge and minimize how much you lose in the casino. However, understand that the mathematical nature of gambling means you will likely lose money over time. The keys are moderation and viewing gambling strictly as entertainment, not as a way to get rich.

What are the first steps I should take after losing a lot of money gambling?

Losing a significant amount of money gambling can be devastating. Here are some important first steps to take if you find yourself in this situation:

  1. Accept the reality of what happened. Don’t try to immediately win back losses by gambling more.
  2. Tell a trusted friend or family member about your situation.
  3. If you feel depressed or suicidal, call the National Problem Gambling Helpline at 1-800-522-4700.
  4. Consider excluding yourself from casinos by using self-exclusion programs.
  5. Seek help from a gambling addiction counselor or support group.
  6. Have an open discussion with your spouse or family about household finances.
  7. Prioritize essential expenses like rent/mortgage, utilities, food when budgeting.
  8. Don’t take out high-interest payday loans – this will make recovery harder.
  9. Consult a credit counselor if struggling with gambling debt.

Coping with significant gambling losses requires honesty about the situation, communication with loved ones, and taking steps to prevent making it worse. With time, dedication, and support, you can recover both financially and emotionally from problem gambling.

What do I do if I lost more money than I have or can afford to lose?

Losing more money than you can afford due to gambling is an extremely difficult situation. Here are some important steps if this happens:

  • Get help for gambling addiction. Seek counseling, enroll in treatment, or join Gamblers Anonymous.
  • Consider bankruptcy if debts are unmanageable. Consult a bankruptcy attorney.
  • Communicate openly with creditors and discuss repayment plans or debt consolidation.
  • Create a bare bones budget cutting out unnecessary expenses.
  • Pick up extra work or sell assets to earn more money.
  • Borrow money only from trusted friends/family as a last resort.
  • Avoid further gambling or you may end up in a dangerous downward spiral.
  • Let loved ones control your finances for a period of time.
  • Consult a non-profit credit counseling agency for managing debt.

Recovering from out of control gambling losses requires drastic lifestyle changes. With discipline, outside support, and a plan, financial and personal recovery is possible. The road will be difficult but taking responsibility and fixing problems one step at a time leads to a healthier life down the road.

How do I tell my spouse I lost a lot gambling?

Being honest about substantial gambling losses with a spouse or partner is difficult but necessary. Here are some tips:

  • Have the conversation privately, when you are both calm.
  • Take full responsibility and make no excuses for your actions.
  • Come prepared with a plan to take control of gambling and finances.
  • Acknowledge the full impact of losses on savings, bills, trust.
  • Assure your partner you are committed to recovery from addiction.
  • Answer all questions your spouse may have with honesty and empathy.
  • Provide complete transparency of finances going forward.
  • Communicate how much this relationship means to you.
  • Suggest counseling or support groups for couples.

Openness and sincerity give the best chance to rebuild trust after substantial losses. Taking meaningful steps to get help shows you are serious about changing harmful behaviors. Problem gambling destroys relationships, but couples can emerge stronger when the issue is faced head on with compassion by both partners.

What do I do if gambling caused me to go into debt?

Gambling-related debt can be very stressful but there are proactive steps you can take:

  • Admit to loved ones you have a gambling problem and need help.
  • Enroll in a gambling addiction recovery program.
  • Review all debts and organize them by interest rates.
  • Pay minimum on all debts and focus extra payments on those with highest rates.
  • Consolidate multiple debts into a lower interest loan to streamline payments.
  • Consult a non-profit credit counseling agency to manage your debt repayment plan.
  • Consider debt settlement companies if unable to repay in reasonable timeframe.
  • Bankruptcy is a last resort if you are truly unable to repay debts.
  • Always communicate honestly with creditors; don’t take on further debt.

Normalizing your finances after compulsive gambling is challenging but staying focused, getting help, and creating a debt repayment plan can help you work your way out of this situation.

What are the dangers of trying to win back my gambling losses?

It’s very tempting to try to win back money lost while gambling, but this is extremely high-risk behavior. Dangers include:

  • Higher losses – Chasing losses often backfires and creates bigger financial holes.
  • Compulsive gambling – Trying to recover losses fuels the gambling addiction.
  • Bad decisions – Desperation clouds judgement and leads to poor betting choices.
  • Borrowed money – Many problem gamblers borrow money that also gets lost.
  • Job loss – Neglecting work to gamble leads to getting fired.
  • Crime – Some gamblers resort to illegal acts to pay debts.
  • Strain on relationships – Obsession with recouping losses damages personal life.
  • Mental health issues – Anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts may develop.

The best approach is to accept losses, learn from mistakes, get help and focus energy on rebuilding finances and life in a healthy and honest manner.

How can I learn to accept my losses and move on?

Accepting gambling losses and moving on in a healthy way involves:

  • Letting go of shame or guilt – don’t beat yourself up continually.
  • Cessation of chasing behavior – no trying to win back losses.
  • Taking responsibility – admit you have a problem and need help.
  • Support network – open up to trusted friends and family.
  • Financial analysis – understand full impact of losses.
  • Debt repayment plan – systematically pay back debts over time.
  • Budgeting – track spending and control expenses.
  • Recovery program – enroll in rehab or Gamblers Anonymous.
  • Self-exclusion – ban yourself from gambling establishments.
  • Focus on the future – move forward mentally from past losses.

Learning prudent money management, repairing relationships, maintaining sobriety from gambling, and adopting a positive outlook are the keys to leaving losses behind you and building a happier life.

What lifestyle changes can help me avoid future losses?

Making certain lifestyle adjustments can help prevent relapse into harmful gambling behavior:

  • Find new hobbies – Replace gambling with exercise, art, music, reading.
  • Avoid triggers – Stay away from casinos and friends who gamble.
  • Abstain from alcohol – Drinking lowers inhibitions around gambling.
  • Manage finances jointly – Have spouse or family member monitor bank accounts.
  • Balance work life – Don’t let job stress drive you to gamble.
  • Seek counseling – Get professional help for addictive behaviors.
  • Pursue education – Enroll in college courses for career growth.
  • Volunteer – Get involved with charity work in your community.
  • Make new friends – Build relationships with people who don’t gamble.
  • Get accountable – Join a support group like Gamblers Anonymous.

Making gambling inaccessible, filling your time with meaningful activity, surrounding yourself with positive influences, and asking for help when struggling are effective ways to cultivate a healthy, balanced lifestyle.


Losing large sums of money gambling can be devastating, but with courage, honesty, support, and perseverance it is possible to recover financially and rebuild relationships damaged by gambling addiction. The road forward begins by accepting responsibility for harmful behaviors and reaching out for help to change unhealthy patterns. Although past losses cannot be undone, your future is still fully in your control if you commit to making wise choices that promote health, meaning and financial stability. With each new day comes an opportunity to write a new chapter in your life story that doesn’t include out of control gambling.