A gambling weekend in Atlantic City (AC) can be a lot of fun, but you must keep it safe and responsible. The “Vegas on the East Coast” offers a blend of exquisite gambling venues, fresh dining options, boardwalks, and exuberant nightlife, as well as plenty of sea and sand.
There are endless gambling options in AC, including casino classics like slot machines, blackjack, baccarat, craps, and poker. You can also get some sports betting, horse racing, bingo, and keno action. As with any age-restricted activity, gambling is all about moderation, limits, and responsible actions to make sure that you have a blast without breaking the bank.
Overindulging in Atlantic City gambling can have dire consequences on your health, relationships, and financial situation. The last thing you want to lose more than you can afford in their world-class casinos. That’s why we’ve rounded up this guide with tips and sound advice for a safe gambling weekend in Atlantic City.
Tips for Responsible Gambling in Atlantic City, New Jersey
– Stay in full control of your gambling, right from the get-go
Understanding how to gamble safely and responsibly can help you kick back, relax, and have a blast on your weekend trip to Atlantic City. Sure, playing at a casino can be an exciting and possibly rewarding experience, but burning through your savings or getting too intoxicated can quickly throw a wrench on your otherwise dreamy weekend outing.
Whether you’re planning to hit blackjack tables, spin the slots, try some hands of poker, or bet on your favorite sports, you must be fully in charge of your gambling. That means you should set your gambling goals and stick to them no matter what.
Most people who occasionally go to AC for a weekend gambling excursion can stay in control, but things can go awry quickly if you’re a compulsive gambler. In fact, if you have a gambling problem, you might want to avoid any gaming venues in Atlantic City altogether. It’s a matter of taking caution, so you’re better off safe than sorry.
So, how do you know that you may be a compulsive gambler? Here’s a checklist of questions that’ll help you figure out if you should worry about compulsive gambling on your weekend trip:
- Do you often gamble more than you can afford to lose? Have you ever wagered money intended for important expenses, like mortgage payment, utility bills, etc.?
- Do you have trouble trying to stop gambling? If you only stop when you have gambled away down to your last dollar, then you should steer clear of AC casinos.
- Do you have to bet with larger and large amounts of money to get the same thrill and rush you got the first time you won?
- Do you often lie to your friends, family, or others to keep your gambling activities secretive?
- Do you find yourself chasing your gambling losses? If you have a habit of betting more and more trying to win back your lost money, then you may have a gambling problem. You’d be wise not to visit AC gambling venues.
- Have you sold stuff, borrowed money, or resort to questionable ways to raise funds for your gambling endeavors? If so, you may want to reconsider your gambling weekend trip to Atlantic City.
- Has someone you know commented that you might have a gambling problem? Have any of your family members, friends, or others criticized the way you gamble?
- Has betting caused you any health issues, such as feelings of depression, anxiety, or distress?
- Has gambling led to any financial trouble for you or your family?
- Do you gamble to relieve feelings of depression, anxiety, shame, guilt, or helplessness? How about gambling to escape life’s stressors and problems?
- Have you ever jeopardized your relationships, work, school, or social connections because of your gambling?
- Do you often feel guilty about your gambling ways or the consequences thereafter?
- Have you ever resorted to fraud, embezzling, or theft to fund your gambling?
The central tenet of compulsive gambling is the uncontrollable inability to stop the urge to gamble. You may have tried repeatedly to stop, cut back, or control your gambling behaviors, often without success.
In general, most people stop gambling when they hit their loss limits. When it’s time to quit, they simply walk away from the slots, tables, and other gambling products. It should be that simple and straightforward, but problem gamblers are compelled to continue gambling until they lose everything. If that sounds like you — if you answered yes to most of the above questions, you may have a compulsive gambling disorder, so your Atlantic City weekend should be out of the question.
– When it stops being fun, stop!
Let’s get one thing straight right from the start: gambling isn’t a career option. It should be deemed as a form of entertainment. Yes, some gamblers can make a profit from gambling consistently. But this is rare, and mostly limited to poker and table games with low house edges.
Unless you’re a professional poker player who goes on world poker tours and tournaments, you should treat gambling as a source of fun and entertainment. If you end up winning some money, that’s all good and dandy.
When you think of gambling as a fun and entertaining activity, this will change your perspective almost dramatically. For instance, you will realize that your gambling losses are mere costs of entertainment. Well, would you want to burn through your entire paycheck, savings account, or retirement funds in the name of having fun at a nightclub, pool table, or playing golf? I thought so, and you should treat gambling the same way.
We wouldn’t discourage you from trying your luck as a professional poker player, but you should realize that the house almost always wins. After all, nearly all casino games, from slot machines to scratch-offs, have a house edge, which means the odds are designed to lean in favor of the gambling establishment.
Take a classic casino table game like blackjack which has a theoretical return-to-player (RTP) percentage of 99.54%, for instance. That means if you wager $100 on hundred hands of blackjack, the casino will theoretically pay you back $99.54. By the same token, it means that the casino will have taken $0.46 from your bankroll. While that might not seem like a lot, it speaks volumes of why you’ll want to gamble only for entertainment purposes.
Blackjack’s RTP is considered one of the most favorable for players in the gambling world. Atlantic City’s favorite jackpots like Mega Millions have an even lower RTP of 60%. Now, losing $40 on a hundred-dollar jackpot bet doesn’t sound like a sound financial decision, does it?
The trouble really starts when people think of gambling as a way of minting money. In fact, gambling problems usually stem from individuals who think that their time to win might be next. This often leads to anxiety, frustration, and anxiety, not to mention huge financial losses.
People who take gambling as a career often chase their losses and try to win back their money, thinking they’ll break even at some point. You should get this mindset and attitude out of your weekend gambling at Atlantic City.
Gambling is much more fun and enjoyable when you know that losses are just part of the game. This way, you can keep losses at a minimum. At the same time, you don’t want to go to Atlantic City hoping that you’ll get rich by the end of your weekend.
Enjoying a few rounds of baccarat or a few hands of blackjack should be fun and harmless. But when it stops being fun, you must stop gambling. Take a short break and perhaps check out Atlantic City beaches, restaurants, nightlife, and comedy scenes.
– Set your gambling budget and stick to it
One of the best ways to ensure responsible gambling on your weekend trip to Atlantic City is to set a hardline budget. This should be done well ahead of your visit. While you’re planning your trip, set aside a fixed amount of funds that you’re willing to lose gambling at the casinos.
If you set a reasonable gambling limit and adhere to it while playing, then you will be able to have fun and enjoy your gambling. This will remove the guesswork, anxiety, and hassle out of your gambling excursion. And it applies to both betting locally and online at Atlantic City gambling sites.
Be that as it may, sticking to a gambling budget is one of those things that are easy on paper. Even the most successful players know the odds and math behind casino games, but discipline with funds is always a different kettle of fish.
It doesn’t matter if you allocate money for each casino game you plan to play or set a general gambling budget for the whole weekend. The most critical thing is that you need to allocate a fixed amount of money and stay the course.
Creating a sound gambling budget should be an easy and hassle-free process for most people. Just take a closer look at your monthly or weekly expenses; everything from groceries, transport, and rent to utility bills and loan payments. Be sure to factor in any necessary savings and leave ample legroom for emergency expenses.
What remains when you subtract all these expenses, savings, and obligations from your income should mark the maximum budget for your Atlantic City gambling. For example, if your monthly paycheck is $6,500 and your expenses & savings total up to $4,850, then your gambling budget should be at most $1,650. Don’t forget that this amount should cater to the hotel, tips, drinks, and other indulgences, as well.
When you have used up all of your bankroll gambling, you should simply stop. Or maybe you should see or experience attractions, landmarks, and other things Atlantic City and the vicinity have to offer. We can’t overemphasize this: you should never gamble more than you’ve budgeted for your weekend gambling.
– Manage your bankroll properly
It’s not enough to set a gambling budget; you must also walk the talk. Even the savviest casino gamblers understand that bankroll management is paramount. It doesn’t matter if you’ve mastered odds, winning strategies, and whatnot; discipline with your gambling money will go a very long way.
Most of the time, you should gamble as a way of having fun, but that doesn’t mean that you should let your guard down. Managing your bankroll calls for discipline and complete self-control. Use these hacks and tips to make sure that you stay in the safe zone and not blow quickly through your bankroll:
- Only risk/bet what you can afford to lose: This again circles back to your fixed gambling budget. Even the so-called whales or high-roller players gamble what they can afford to lose. The true joy of casino gambling is not the size of your wagers; but how long you maintain and enjoy your bankroll. Playing with funds you are afraid of losing is neither prudent nor enjoyable.
- Never try to chase your losses: It’s worth reminding everyone again that gambling should be taken as a mode of entertainment, so losses are the price of having fun. Not only should you wager what you can afford to lose, but must also resist the urge to win back your money by betting larger amounts.
- Don’t place bigger and bigger wagers: When you do so, your potential losses become larger and larger, as well. This brings us back to the fact that casino games are designed to favor the house. Technically, that means every bet you place will result in a theoretical loss, so you stand very little chance of getting your money back.
- You should never borrow funds while playing: Don’t ask your friends, family, or fellow gamblers to float you a few bucks. The chances are high that you will end up losing that money, which makes a bad situation even worse.
- Stick to your set gambling budget: We’d to repeat this one because it’s the most critical tactic for managing your bankroll. Write it on your palm if you’ve to, but no matter what, when you reach the limit, quit playing.
- Enjoy your hotel room: You spend top dollar to snag the best hotel room, so be sure to check it out and enjoy its amenities. It can be tempting to gamble from dawn to dusk. However, your bankroll, mental health, and butt are not built to handle 24/7 gambling, so be sure to sleep, kick back, and relax on your weekend trip.
- Be honest about your gambling losses and wins: If you find yourself lying to your family members, friends, or others about your gambling activity, then you need to take a break and reconsider your gaming habits.
- Steer clear of lines of credit and ATMs: This might sound trivial, but it works. Play as far as possible from the closest ATM. Better yet, you should have your gambling money in the form of playing chips, so you can leave your credit and debit cards at home or in your hotel room. Having a line of credit with you is an easy way to overextend your gambling budget.
– Set a time limit and stick to it
As with your gambling dollars, you should also set a time limit. If you spend too much time gambling, this can be nearly as damaging as betting more than you can afford to lose. It’s very easy to get caught up in all the pulsating motions of 24/7 casino gambling.
The last thing you want is to turn gambling from a fun, harmless hobby into a problematic habit. Even if you aren’t losing money, you should take several breaks in between gambling sessions. For instance, you should spend around 30 minutes to an hour playing blackjack, and then take a 15-minute break before turning to craps.
Putting brakes on your gambling when necessary is a great way to ensure mental sharpness and prevent burnout. Your hotel room is usually a safe spot to hunker down and relax to ensure stress-free and happy gambling.
– Don’t gamble while drunk, frustrated, or upset
You know what they say about drinking alcohol: it impairs your judgment. You don’t want to be at your halfwits when gambling. If the casino offers free drinks and beverages, you should stick to non-alcoholic beverages and stay sober. This is especially true if you’re planning on betting big.
Most casinos know that people tend to bet bigger and more recklessly when they are frustrated or drunk. You shouldn’t fall for their traps. If you’re anxious, upset, or otherwise unhappy for losing or whatever reason, step out of the casino until you calm down and ready to enjoy gambling. Anything that may cloud your judgment or compromise your emotions is a big no-no when gambling at a casino.
– Try to leave while still ahead
It may not be your goal to turn a profit while gambling in Atlantic City, but it doesn’t hurt to win a little money for your trouble. Still, having fun should be the #1 goal. Don’t forget about the law of gravity which states that “what goes up must always come down”.
The best casinos and gambling sites make money from players who lose their common sense to greed. When you get greedy, that’s when you start losing, and in most cases, you’ll lose big money! Trust me; it’s better to quit with a $75 win than leave Atlantic City with zero dollars in your bank account.
– Never gamble on a game that you don’t know how to play
5 Card Draw Poker or Texas Hold’em might look cool when professional players are trying to out-bluff each other on TV, but that doesn’t mean it is easy. Whether slot machines, table games, or exotic games like Keno, always make sure that you play games you really understand.
One of the sorriest ways to blow through your bankroll is to play a game in which the strategies, rules, or gameplay confuse you. For the most part, beginners should stick to plug-and-play games like slots and roulette.
If you’re planning on playing poker, baccarat, blackjack, or other games of skill, you should spend several days prior to your trip learning their ropes, pay-tables, rules, & tactics.
– Consider a mix of land-based and online casino gambling
Did you know that nearly every casino in Atlantic City has one or more gambling sites? Since legalizing online gambling back in 2013, New Jersey has played home to some of the country’s best online casinos, sports betting sites, online poker platforms, and DFS websites.
If you’re not the kind of person who spends hours playing games on a very busy and loud casino floor in Atlantic City, you can always go to your room and enjoy online gambling. Signing up for an online gambling account should take a couple of minutes.
The best part is that you can take advantage of great casino bonuses, free bets, cash-back, and other promos on offer. Smart players use these freebies to build out their bankrolls and improve their odds of leaving with decent wins. You can even deposit money at the cashier cage of a participating Atlantic City casino.
– Follow COVID-19 safety rules set by the state and Atlantic City casinos
The coronavirus pandemic has surely done a number on Atlantic City gambling, but younger players are still flocking to the gambling hub. Even so, you must follow COVID-19 safety guidelines and precautions put in place by the casinos.
Remember, indoor smoking, drinking, and dining on some casino floors are not allowed, so this is something that you should keep in mind. Also, live entertainment, spa services, and some amenities that encourage close contact are either not available or extremely limited.
As a general rule of precaution, bring your own hand sanitizer, wash your hands often, and wear an appropriate mask. Abiding by social distancing rules while at the casinos will also go a long way to curb the pandemic.