Always Keep Your Play Fun

San Diego County has more Indian casinos than any other county in the United States. Including the rest of Southern California, there are 23 casinos that Southern Californian casino players have easy access to play in any day. Responsible Gaming may be a timely message for us all, and it’s always a good time to be aware of your casino play. 

Since the first issue of the Gaming Guide™ in February 2002, we have advocated Responsible Gaming on our pages with player tips and articles focusing on keeping casino play fun. And since our first issue, we have featured a California Council on Problem Gambling pro bono advertisement usually below From The Publisher, to give readers information and encouragement about seeking help for problem gambling. 

When casino play stops being fun, it’s time to stop playing and get help. The California Council on Problem Gaming has resources available for problem gamblers. Call for information at 1-800-gambler (1-800-426-2537), or email , or go online to the website at

Each year the National Council on Problem Gambling presents the National Problem Gambling Awareness Month, a grassroots public awareness and outreach campaign, usually in March. The goal of the campaign is to educate the general public and healthcare professionals about the warning signs of problem gambling and raise awareness about the help that is available both locally and nationally. 

Of the vast majority of casino players nationwide who go to casinos for entertainment, research from the National Council on Problem Gambling indicates that 2% to 3% of the U.S. population will have a gambling problem in any given year. That’s 6 million to 9 million Americans, yet only a small fraction seeks out services, including treatment and self-help recovery programs. 

In California, according to the California Council on Problem Gambling, problem gambling affects approximately 3.7% of the population, almost 1,000,000 adults. Gambling problems can affect anyone, anywhere, anytime, regardless of age, gender or race. There is hope and help for those who suffer from these problems.

Here are some tips to keep your play fun at the casino.

Take your casino betting money in cash. 

Earmark the money you spend at the casino — and are willing to lose — as the cost of your casino entertainment. When your money is gone, it’s time to do something else at the casino. Have a meal, watch a show, or just go home.

When you arrive at the casino, don’t start playing right away. 

Before you start playing, take a walk around the casino to see what has changed since your last visit. This will also give you the opportunity to look at new games and even find a new one to play.

Play slowly. 

Once you choose a game, stretch your playing time to get the most entertainment from the money you’re playing. Start by playing your lowest denomination bill. If you have to keep reaching for more bills to put into the machine, it may be time to switch machines or take a break.

Play only one slot at a time. 

Playing more than one slot just gives you more exposure to the house edge. In the long run you will lose your money faster and shorten your playing time. Also, playing two machines often involves standing up or leaning out of your chair to reach over to an adjacent machine. This is not very relaxing or entertaining. Sit in the chair in front of your machine and relax. Playing slot machines (or any casino game) should be a fun experience.

Take a break from playing. 

If you decide to change machines, take a break before sitting down to play again. If you have been playing for a few hours you may want to get a meal or just walk around. Walking around the casino is a good way to stretch your legs after sitting in one place for a while. Your goal is to stretch your casino experience.

Gamble socially. 

Play with family or friends and have fun playing side-by-side and not always alone. 

Consider any money you win as a bonus. 

When you win, be sure to take your winnings home instead of playing them all back. The casino will still be there in a week or a month for you to enjoy again.

If you drink alcohol at the casino, be responsible when gambling. 

Limit your alcohol intake to be certain you’re in control of what you play and your bet.

Don’t borrow money to gamble. 

Don’t use a credit card at the casino, because in fact what you are doing is borrowing money to gamble — and always at a much higher interest rate.

Don't gamble when you’re stressed.

Don’t gamble when feeling lonely, angry, depressed, or in pain. Casino games are fun, but ultimately they won’t change those feelings for very long — even if you win.

Don’t chase your losses. 

Chasing losses is a losing strategy. Chances are you will lose even more. Once your earmarked casino bankroll is gone, it’s time to do something different. Remember, only you can keep your play fun.