Avoid a bad gamble with sports betting

< Back to all articles

Whether you’re an avid sports fan or a casual watcher, you’ve likely seen many ads for internet gaming sites encouraging you to take a chance on your favourite team. You’ve probably wondered what it’s all about and maybe you’ve been tempted to try out placing your own bet.

If sports betting is something you’re considering, it’s important you have the right information to play responsibly. We’ve collected three tips for keeping yourself and your finances healthy while betting on your favourite sports.

#1 Know the rules.

You have to be 19 years of age or older to gamble in Atlantic Canada which includes placing sports bets. This rule is in place to help ensure you have the experience to make healthy choices when placing your wager.

There are also rules about what providers you can place your bets with. In Atlantic Canada, Atlantic Lottery Corporation is the only fully legal provider of online gambling and sports-betting products. Advertisements for betting sites like the ones with big-name celebrities that air during games aren’t operating legally in Atlantic Canada—and that can come with consequences for bettors and their safety.

Unregulated sites don’t always have your best interest when it comes to healthy and responsible playing, and they may not highlight important features like age and residency verifications, or time and wager limits.

#2 Have a plan and hold yourself accountable.

It may sound counterintuitive, but one of the most important things you can do when placing a wager on a game is to have a plan. Instead of living in the moment, here are some things to consider before the game:

  • Decide how much you can afford to potentially lose before the game and stick to that budget. Think of it as part of your larger budget and financial goals.
  • How much does your budget allow for entertainment expenses and how much of that do you want to spend on betting?
  • How much money will you be left with to do other things you value, like going out for dinner with friends or paying for your streaming subscription?

Asking yourself these questions and sticking to your plan will help ensure you don’t get carried away in the heat of the moment and spend more than you’d anticipated.

#3 Bet smart and know where to turn for help.

Ever heard the expression, “There’s no such thing as free money?” By that same logic, there’s no such thing as free or risk-free betting, despite what some sports betting ads might try to tell you. It’s important to know the risks of sports betting and where to turn to for help when you need it.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help from a professional if you’re experiencing problems with gambling. Each Atlantic province offers free and confidential support via a 24/7 helpline and there are countless websites with resources about problem gambling.

In situations of problem gambling, financial advice that lines up with your reality and challenges can be invaluable. If you’ve incurred debt, a financial expert you trust can help you develop a plan for how to get your finances back on track.

If you or a loved one is dealing with a problem with their gambling, there are resources available to help:

24/7 provincial helplines

New Brunswick: 1-800-461-1234

Newfoundland and Labrador: 811

Nova Scotia: 1-888-347-8888

Prince Edward Island: 1-855-255-4255

Other resources in Nova Scotia

The Gambling Support Network provides online and phone support for Nova Scotians and their families through trained professionals. Their services are free, confidential, and available 24/7.

Call their phone line at 1-888-347-8888 or text GSN to 1-902-700-7702. You can also chat live with a counsellor on their site.

In-person counselling is available to Nova Scotians with gambling-related concerns through Health and Wellness Addiction Services offices across the province. Find your closest office here.

Other resources in New Brunswick

The New Brunswick Department of Health and Wellness shares information and tools for people experiencing problem gambling, their families, and the community on self-assessment, awareness, and recovery.

Call their 1-800-461-1234 line for free confidential information.

Other resources in Newfoundland & Labrador

Addictions Services provides assessment, education, and treatment services in Newfoundland & Labrador for people experiencing problem gambling and their family members.

Call their free and confidential gambling helpline at 811.

Other resources on Prince Edward Island

Addictions Services provides assessment, education, and treatment services in Prince Edward Island for people experiencing problem gambling and their family members.

Call their gambling support line at 1-855-255-4255 to speak with a trained professional.