Hi - new to this and pretty overwhelmed. Read a number of threads and spoke to someone really helpful at Gamcare earlier today. However, I'm still confused on what's best to do.
Discovered my normally bright, reliable 21 year old son with a good job / wage and renting a house with his g/f, has run up debts of £17k on gambling web sites. He was paid on 28th and has since blown all his wages and £3k he borrowed off family. He now has nothing to live off for the next month or any ability to pay his regular living expenses or his many loan and credit card payments. He has nothing though did pay his rent for the next month. He called me yesterday and confessed and then came to see me to share the full extent of the mess he's now in; which was completely out of the blue. Happy New Year!
He has called Gamcare himself today and is getting someone assigned in the next few days to assist. He tried to call Step-change but they're closed until Tuesday. He says he will do anything to fix his addiction... and I do tend to believe he is being sincere. He is also going to give me access to his bank and credit card accounts.
I will make sure he has food, money for electric and heating and fuel for his car so he can get to work. In the next week he has £600 worth of payments due and £200 of expenses, mostly payday loans, bank loans, cc payments and council tax. The dilemma I have is he knows I have £4,600 of savings I hold for him for when he is ready to buy a house. Done the same for all my kids. It is money I've saved since he was born. Reading the advice on various threads and from Gamcare, he needs to own his debt and suffer the consequences. However, I really don't want him to get a negative credit record which will stop him getting a mortgage for many years. He has never defaulted on any payments ever. Is it really unhelpful if I use this money I have for him to clear as many of the high interest payday loans and let him resolve the remaining £13k (bank overdrafts (personal loans, credit cards and family borrowings) with Step-change, when he gets through to them? Thanks.
@stottycake As the once 21 year old son, I went to my mum/nan/anyone who I thought might have been able to help me. It wouldn't matter where the money came from, all I wanted was the money. Normally it was because of debts or I wanted to carry on gambling but all my credit avenues were closed. The loans were paid off, not so much panic now, but what that did was allow me to borow again from them! Once that lot was gone I'd do it again and again, each time promising I'd do anything to beat it. What I actually meant was I'd say anything to get the urgent debts taken care off so that I could carry on like Jack the Lad.
If my experience has taught me anything, and it's been 30 years since I was that 21 year old lad, is that giving money in whatever form to take away the responsibility from the addict who finds him/herself in the situation that they do will rarely work out well.
I would not give any money over or pay any of the debts. I understand you are torn because you don't want to see his credit rating get mucked up, but I think that you have done enough. Making sure he has food, heating and can get to work is plenty. Let him make some phone calls to put a hold on his repayments or council tax. Then, next payday, when his wages come in, have a plan about how he is going to pay back his debts. Maybe if it takes him 6 months to pay back the payday loans that might have only taken a few hours or days to gamble away it might sink in a little more than you clearing them for his future benefit. This will teach him a much more important lesson than you paying them off, even if the money is for him anyway.
I know that sounds a long answer but a shorter one would have been this. If you use the money to pay off the urgent short term debts, they will come back again and next time there will be no money, so why do it this time?
I am sure that he is sincere in stopping, but that shouldn't be on condition that you help him more than he already has. I'm not suggesting that is the case, but I remember how many times I promised to do something if only I could get out of the jam I was in. Truth be told, as soon as I was out of the mess I couldn't wait to jump straight back in. I didn't want to get back in,my intentions were always to win the money back, make sure everyone got their money back, maybe a little extra for me and then I'd stop. I never could stop though, so even if I won I just carried on thinking I was unbeatable. I wasn't and soon enough found myself back in the mess. More lies, then more promises, round and round I went, until I had everything off everyone I could.
Don't give him the money or pay his debts.
Only my opinion so please feel free to ignore but if I were you I'd keep the money for him for the time being until he's a bit older. Let him deal with all his debts on his own with the assistance of stepchange and advise him to get help with his gambling problem. That's the most important thing for him to do. Buying a house with his girlfriend should be the last thing on his mind, especially at 21.
Gambling addiction is so destructive but if he get help and more importantly help himself at this young age mores the better. In my experience help from parents only prolonged the pain and destruction of my gambling binges. He needs to feel the pain and uncertainty of gambling consequences otherwise he'll continue to do it for years and years. I really do want the best so please don't think I'm trying to be harsh but the truth is you enabling him will make things worse.
Tell. Him to focus on his job, pay off his debts and then think about saving a deposit for a house if that's what he truly wants. Hope he does well. All the best
At this stage. No money is going to be enough. If your ad more now it will be like dousing the fire with gasoline. If you want to help him take over all economy from him and give him some pocket money on a weekly basis. It is better for you and better for him. He will get some distance and can concentrate on recovery and you can get some peace that there won't be deceptions and lies because when you are at that stage there is a lot of lies and deception.
At some stage in the future he will be able to take it back and work normally again but now it is not the time.
I wish you well
Hi, no don’t pay debts. The worse his credit score the better. You pay them he can borrow more. He needs to show you he’s putting blocks in place to restrict his access to money and gambling sites.
Stepchange will help him. Tuesday is not very far away. Rash decisions are a bad idea at this stage.
He needs to take responsibility for his actions. Learning from his mistakes is the only way. We are not able to fix it for them. That’s enabling and it keeps them sicker for longer.
Recovery is uncomfortable, you have to be strong and not be manipulated. Gamanon is another resource for you to get help and support from other f&f of compulsive gamblers.
This is so tough. My son has just been around sharing all the details of his debt and bank accounts, his Gamstop registration and gam blocking software given to him by Gamcare. Also detailed his debts on the Step-change site ready for when he can get through to them. He is saying and doing all the right things so far, which makes it so so tough when I say no to his pleas to cover his payments due out his bank on Monday/ Tuesday. He will default for the first time. He accepts it is all his fault but he knows it’s within my gift to fix it and to give him a chance to prove himself.
Really appreciate all the comments; I need to show tough love and he needs to suck up the consequences otherwise he is likely to repeat.
So sorry you are in this situation but if he has shown you all his debts and bank account I would cancel his debit card and get a new 1 issued which you then keep. Why, because I knew my debit card details off by heart and he probably will as well so this is what my wife did with mine. Also get his Bank to block any gambling transactions on the card.
Stepchange are amazing, I have a debt management plan with them which has taken a lot of stress out of my credit card debt. I would advise him to contact all his debtors telling them he is going to Stepchange which should make them stop adding any more interest and charges to his debts.
Hope you can sort him out as he is only young and life can teach some tough lessons which he will be grateful for in the future.
All the best
Well done you. Let him default on payments. Stepchange will sort it out with him. It will be absolutely fine. Shift term damage to his credit is a good thing, it won't be damaged forever. I guarantee that he will thank you one day for not bailing him out and fueling the sickness of gambling. He will learn that his salary is for bills and debt repayment first and formost. You're being a great mum doing it this way 👍
Definitely not. Trust me you don't want to be going there. Obviously you want to help him but giving a gambler money REGARDLESS of what the money will be used for is a massive no. It's bailing him out. He will have to learn from this otherwise he will keep gambling. If you help him now, it's almost like you are helping his addiction.
You can't trust a word he says without seeing independent proof. He's shared the debt details but you can't be sure you've got the entire story without access to his credit reports (all three agencies). It's amazing what can 'slip' their minds.
Don't pay off the debts. It's a clean slate for him to start all over again as many of us who have done just that can attest. He found the time for gambling. He can find the time to address the consequences. Helping with food and fuel is more than enough but don't give him the cash and trust it will go where it's supposed to. You may need to pay for the goods directly at least in the short term.
Allowing the debt to default is no bad thing. Mr L's score was on the floor for years. I preferred it that way because it meant his access to potential further credit and destruction was heavily restricted if not curtailed altogether. He also had (still has) a notice of correction on his records stating that he does not wish to be given or offered any form of credit even if he applies for it. A CIFAS registration is another potential safeguard with the effect of slowing down a credit application.
Hi - yeah... he’s doing ok. Thanks for asking. Has done a couple of GamAnon meetings which he found tough and was the youngest there though not sure he related to some of the people. His gambling is related to getting drunk then losing control on online slot machines gambling everything he has and what he hasn’t. He’s being assigned a buddy so hoping they can get though to him. He’s still waiting to hear back from Gamcare; think they’re inundated with requests for help, if unfortunately.
He seems focused and doing dry Jan so good start, but such a long way to go... preying it continues as cannot think about what will happen if he starts gambling again. Thanks.
@stottycake I presume you mean Gamblers anonymous. The gamanon is for partners and parents.
It's quite common for drink to be a factor towards gambling so my GA friends who do that now don't drink.
Im glad he's getting help. At a young age it is difficult to associate with older members but the actions and the outcomes are the same, not necessarily the exact same type of gambling.
Did you help him financially or not? I know that was a difficult decision for you.