Now that casinos are springing up all across America, gambling is more convenient than ever. Where once, people had to take trips to certain distinct locations to play slot machines, they can now press that button in short driving distance. It is much easier to keep the slot machine gambling at a fun and harmless level if you follow a few pointers.

  1. Never bring more money to the casino than you are willing to lose. If you have extra money on you, you will be tempted to use it, even if you go on a winning streak. Here is how it happens: You set aside the money you do not plan to gamble with. Then you gamble with the moeny you have allotted yourself. You may win, but if you eventually start losing, you may be tempted to dig into your store. You think, just a twenty, Just one more twenty. This can go on until all the money you brought is gone.
  2. Do not even bring a way to get more money. Do not bring your ATM card, a check book, or a credit card that you can make cash advances on. It is too easy to pull out more money. If you stay faithful to this rule, you will be able to control your spending better.
  3. Watch out for progressive slot machines. That is not to say that you should not play them. However, the key to playing a progressive without going broke is simple. Play it to win a good amount of money and if you should happen to win the progressive, that would be a nice surprise. If you play with the expectation of winning the progressive, you may win and lose a lot of money that you could have gone home with as a gain.
  4. Beware of the video slots bonus. Bonus rounds are fun; there is no doubt about it. A certain number of special symbols come up and suddenly the reels change and you get 15 extra spins, or something similar. That means that you get chances to win with each spin without adding any more money until the free spins are finished. It sounds like a great deal, right? It is, but the problem is that once you get a video slots bonus, you usually think you can do better the next time. No matter how many times the bonus comes up, a common reaction is to set your sights on the next bonus. Instead of falling into this trap, base your time to quit on other factors.
  5. Set points where you will quit. If you win something, you may want to play it down a little bit. That makes sense, to see if you are still winning. People who should know usually say that slots are totally random and that there is no such thing as a hot machine. However, people who have played usually experience times when a certain machine is paying consistently. The thing to remember is that, even if this happens to you, it will end. So, after you have played down to the point you have decided on, then quit. If you happen to hit a good payout while you are playing the total down to you first set point, choose a new higher set point at which to stop. This keeps increasing the amount you will go home with.
  6. When it stops being fun, stop playing. Never go to a casino depressed and when things go bad, just get up and walk away. Some people will start out with negative feelings and soothe them by playing slots. This is a fast way to get into problem gambling habits–maybe even a gambling addiction.
  7. Use money you have won to buy things you want or need. A true slot machine junkie will go back to the casino and put it all back in the machine. Do not fall into that trap. If the money just keeps going in and out of the machine (and more in than out) it begins to lose meaning. Keep yourself grounded in the value of a dollar by using it in a way that enriches your life.

If you are planning to go on a gambling trip, make decisions before you go. Then, make it difficult to change those decisions by leaving money and ATM cards behind. Learn as much as you can about how slot machines work so that you will not be caught off guard. Keep in mind that a short winning streak may set you on the path to problem gambling faster than starting out by losing will. Play if you choose, but only if you can keep it under control and have fun with it.