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About This Resource

What It Does

This service:

Help you lower the risks and harms that are a part of gambling.

How It Helps

This resource can help you:

Discover helpful strategies to reduce your risk of experiencing harms from gambling.

This service:

Help you lower the risks and harms that are a part of gambling.

This resource can help you:

Discover helpful strategies to reduce your risk of experiencing harms from gambling.

When you gamble, the Lower-Risk Gambling Guidelines (Guidelines) help you lower the risks and harms that are a part of gambling. There are 3 guidelines. Do your best to follow all three.

For more details on how the Guidelines were made, see the article called Developing Canada’s First National Lower-Risk Gambling Guidelines.

Guideline 1: Spend no more than 1% of yearly income when gambling

Your risk of experiencing gambling harms increases four times as spending increases beyond 1% of gross monthly household income. You can use your yearly household income, before taxes are taken off, to get a spending limit for gambling. For example, if you make $70,000 before tax the spending limit for gambling is no more than $58 per month.

Below is a table that shares limits based on yearly income before tax. You can use the table by finding the amount closest to your yearly income. Then you can see the suggested spending limit for gambling each month. 

Yearly Income Before Taxes

Monthly Gambling Spending Limit

$10,000

$8

$20,000

$17

$40,000

$33

$70,000

$58

$80,000

$67

$100,000

$83

$120,000

$100

$130,000

$108

Guideline 2: Gamble no more than 4 days per month

Avoid gambling more than 4 times a month. This works out to about once a week.

Your risk of experiencing gambling harms increases 2 to 7 times if gambling more than 4 times per month.

Guideline 3: Avoid regularly gambling at more than 2 types of games

Aim to have no more than 2 types of gambling games you play regularly. Common types of gambling include:

  • Lotteries

  • Sports betting

  • Table games (i.e. roulette, poker, blackjack, craps)

  • Slot machines

  • Scratch tickets

  • Horse racing  

  • Bingo

  • Video lottery terminals (VLTs)

  • Online forms of gambling like poker or slot machines

It was found that playing three game types results in a doubling of risk of harm while playing four game types can almost triple the risk of experiencing financial and relationship harms and more than quadruple the risk for emotional harms.

Additional Tips

Want even more ways to help avoid the harms of gambling? These tips can be used with the Guidelines.

Plan Ahead

Plan ahead when you are going on a big trip or special event where you might gamble. Think about your gambling spending limit for the trip, the types of games you plan to play, and how to make sure your other plans happen.

Have a Budget

Think about how much money you can spend on fun. Make sure that you balance the money you use for gambling with other things you enjoy.  

Make it Cash

When you gamble, leave your credit and debit cards at home. Bring only your gambling spending limit with you in cash. This can be hard since there are so many ways to pay for things now. There are also apps that can help you stop your phone from being used to pay for things.

Smart Scheduling

When you plan to gamble, set other activities you enjoy for after the time you plan to gamble. This gives you a time to leave and a reason to go. 

Keep a Clear Head

Think about how alcohol, cannabis and other drugs could change the choices you make while gambling. You may want to think about setting limits for alcohol, cannabis and other drugs when you gamble.

Go Solo or in a Group?

Gambling with other people can affect the choices you make. Gambling with others can change the types of games you play, how much you bet and how long you gamble. Think about how gambling with others or gambling alone might change your choices.

Adapted with permission from the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction.