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Do not be too alarmed, however. The horror stories are very rare exceptions and being aware of how wrong it can go is the best way of preventing it happening. But we do need to ask, how do we manage our money? The first suggestion is consider keeping your betting money quite separate from your other finances.


The spread firms warn that you should only gamble with money you can afford to lose permanently and it is worth deciding how much that is from the outset. Keeping your betting bank in a different account to your everyday living money is easy to do and avoids confusion and potential embarrassment. It also allows a visible way of watching how we are doing. If spread bets are being settled into a general account the small losers tend to get overlooked and it is too easy to subsidize the betting with money you never intended to gamble with.


The second suggestion—and it should be a rule for spread bettors—has to be: keep a record of your bets. It sounds simple, but it needs discipline and a willingness to accept when you have simply got it wrong. Writing up the umpteenth losing bet and totting up the losses can be a painful process and a chore that you want to put off, but the benefits are worth the pain.