Online Gambling – Keeping your Bankroll in the Black


Online gambling is increasing in popularity; if you play, you should find a system for keeping your bankroll in the black.   Without a financial plan, you could end up losing much more than you planned or owing more taxes on winnings than you realized.  Before you throw caution to the wind and bet the farm, use the guidelines below to set your limits and create a financial plan for your online gambling bankroll.


Set your limit

To choose an appropriate online gambling limit, first look at the recreation or entertainment portion of your household budget.  Are there others in your home who use this fund?  Discuss with your spouse, children or significant other how to equitably dole out the recreation money.  Only use your portion for your online gambling entertainment.


Stick to your budget

Once you have your portion of the recreation budget, you’ll have to stick to it.  To make your money last all month, consider depositing only enough for one week into your gaming account, deposit the remainder into an interest bearing savings account.  Another option is to open a credit card account and bet only one quarter of your budget each week, paying off the credit card in full monthly.  If you pay off the balance within 30 days, you are usually not charged interest.  Be careful, though, this method of budgeting can be dangerous if you don’t stick to your allotted funds each month. 


Keep records

Before you go online, make sure you are aware of how much you are willing and able to bet.  Keep a dedicated online gambling notebook next to your computer or an Excel spreadsheet with your deposits (winnings) and withdraws (losses).  In any single column, you can enter deposits ($100, for example) and withdraws (-50, for example) then highlight all cells (boxes, like A1, A2, A3, for example) for a total amount left in your online gambling budget.  The sum will appear in the bottom right corner of your Excel sheet.  


Once it’s gone, leave the table

Whether you choose to blow your bankroll in one night or spread it out over a month, you should never, ever consider over-drawing your budget.  Staying after the money is gone can be hazardous and may eventually cost much more than a few dollars. 


Quit while you’re ahead

Some professional online gamblers set an over/under limit to keep their bankrolls in check.  If you start your gambling with $100, consider setting a $25 over/under limit to keep yourself from losing too much.  Once you’ve hit a balance of $75 or $125, call it quits.  Just because it’s in your budget to lose all of your gambling money doesn’t mean you have to.  Quitting while you’re ahead will also ensure your bankroll will grow.


Neither a lender nor borrower be

Your budget should not allow for paying off debts or earning interest from loans.  One of the warning signs of a compulsive gambler is living beyond his or her means (borrowing money.)  Lending money to a gambler is akin to buying a drink for an alcoholic.  Avoid loans – both giving and receiving. 


Read the fine print

Rules vary from site to site as do bonus plans.  Make sure you familiarize yourself with the details of each particular website you gamble at.  You should completely understand the requirements for bonuses and the cashing out procedures.


Keep your senses

Avoid drinking or imbibing in any way before you sit down at the virtual table.  Don’t gamble when you’re tired or fatigued.  You need to completely comprehend your budget at all times, something difficult to do if you’ve been drinking or are overly tired.  You don’t want to take risks you wouldn’t take well-rested and sober. 


Online gambling is a fun, exciting way to spend your entertainment dollars and time.  Avoid becoming an addict by keeping a close eye on your budget.  Keeping your bankroll in the black when participating in online gambling can keep it enjoyable for you and your family.


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