It depends, and it isn’t always just about money. The amount someone can safely spend on gambling, like how much you can safely spend on other “non-essential items” comes down to your personal circumstances. For some people, spending a few dollars on gambling may mean they and others will have to go without weekly essentials. For others, it could be hundreds or hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Harmful gambling is when your gambling starts to cause problems for you or others. For example, if you are starting to worry about money or have some stress associated with your gambling. Perhaps it’s causing problems in some of your relationships or taking your attention away from work or study. Maybe it’s simply no longer fun. Some forms of gambling are more harmful than others, especially those that allow you to play continuously and lose track of how much you are spending.
Casinos also make access to cash convenient. ATM machines keep you thereby allowing you to spend more than what you have in your pocket, and for the big spender, there are pre-approved credit lines that allow you to drain your bank account, up to pre-approved limits. Since you know you are probably going to lose more than you win, it’s a good idea to gamble as little as possible to reduce the size of those losses. To do that look for table games that have the lowest minimum bet, and make sure you don’t bet more than that minimum.
For heaven’s sake, don’t bet real money on a game that you don’t know how to play. On many table games, you will have an option to bet on some kind of bonus that pays extra if certain conditions are met. Never play these bonuses, they are for suckers and have lousy payback percentages. You will probably find that sooner or later you hit whatever combination it takes to get paid the bonus.