Is gambling affecting your finances?
- Spending more than you want on gambling?
- Struggling to find the money for bills?
- Taking out loans to cover gambling debts?
If you have a gambling problem, the answer to those questions is probably 'yes', as gambling problems and financial issues really go hand-in-hand. A financial crisis is often what brings a person to address their gambling. It’s also not uncommon for partners, friends or family members of problem gamblers to tell us that they did not realise their loved one was a problem gambler until there were serious financial consequences such as a court summons for non-payment of debt or repossession action on their home.
And financial problems can really mount up. Bills don’t get paid, debts accumulate. If you have credit cards, you might max them out to pay your bills, or worse, to keep gambling. At this point, payday loans may look like a solution – but their high interest rates and charges are likely to make the situation worse. Business-owners can also find themselves in debt due to using business money to finance their gambling.
A common dilemma for someone with a gambling problem is how to get out of debt. For many, the chance to continue gambling in order to win it back and make everything alright again can feel overwhelmingly tempting. It might also feel as though there is no chance of repaying debts accrued through gambling unless you carry on gambling, so you feel completely trapped.
However, think of it another way. If you are struggling to control your urge to gamble, a win will probably not clear your debts, as you won't be able to stop gambling to pay them off. The temptation to repeat the thrill of the win would be high. A phrase we often hear is 'I cannot win because I cannot stop'. In the end, losing more money and making the situation worse is inevitable. Also, using more gambling as a way of solving a debt caused by gambling in the first place is unlikely ever to be effective. It may feel like clearing your debts gradually will take longer, but in reality, continuing to gamble will only make things worse in the long run and may leave you with a far greater amount of debt.
The idea of owning up to your debt problems can be frightening, and you'd rather people didn't know.Taking control of your debt problems and looking for another way of solving the issue can however be very empowering. You'll be able to relax and feel that those things are being taken care of, leaving you to address other issues that your gambling has created, and think about stopping gambling altogether.
- Read Finance and debt management to find out more about you can start to clear your debts and manage your finances better.
Think about contacting a specialist not for profit debt advice agency. You can find links to other agencies at Links to other support agencies
If you’re gambling, unless you get it under control, you’ll find it difficult to get out of debt and stay out of debt in future. So it will also be important to take steps to address your gambling, as well as your debt.
Alternatively you can speak to a GamCare adviser on the HelpLine or NetLine, who can help you take the first steps.
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