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Son with an online gambling addiction  


My 24 year old son has an online gambling addiction which we believe started 3 years ago whilst at University. So far he has racked up over £ 20K debt. Initiially he was able to fund his addiction by openning a number of Student Loan accounts and payday loans. The 1st time we were made aware of his addiction was when we discovered anumerous letters from the lenders and confronted him regarding these.

We cleared the pay day loans and establish a payment plan where he would pay back the monies owed to us personally. We never made him stick to a payment schedule.

He relapsed at the end of 2017 again doing online gambling on football games again using payday loans and earnings. Again we paid the larger debts and added it to payment plan - although again we did not make him keep to the payment plan.

We contacted Gamcare at this time and our son took advantage of the counselling services and attended around 6 sessions. He also removed himself from the various online gambling accounts.

Yesterday, the Netflix account he funds stopped and we recognised this could be another indication of problems and whne confronted, he told us he had started gambling again in June.

He had openned accounts on some new online accounts and agian has racked up about £ 10K of debt with payday loan companies.

My son lives at home and has a full time job that pays him well. He has his own car and has a good live style.

We are very fortunate in that we have income available to cover his financial responsibilires but have read on this site that we should not be doing this. I have told him we will not be paying any of these loans and will do everything we can to support him in trying to beat this addiction.

He has a good credit record as I am brokering his loan debt. I need to change this and instigate something where he loan companies would not touch him but without going bankrupt.

We will also register on Gamstop but recognise that not all online gambling sites are registered to this.

He is relunctant to attend GA and wondered if I would be able to support him and attend the group sessions.

Also, He needs some one to one counselling and wondered if people would recommend any particular body.

Like all parents, we want the best for our son and want him to be happy and enjoy all the fruits of live. He has a lot priviliages that others don't but we know how unhappy he is with this addiction as he cannot control it. This is obviously worrying to ourselves as we are concerned it may all become too much for him.

Posted : 27th August 2018 9:25 am
Merry go round

Hi goose he has no reason to stop because you are paying the bills. He doesn't want to go to meetings because he doesn't want to stop. Some one quotes on here Einstein the definition of madness is to keep doing the same thing but expecting a different result. So you have to change. Would you give your son heroin? So why give him money? It's the same, they are using. The only way to help a gambler is to stop giving them money and get help for yourself. He will bankrupt you and himself and then your privileged life will come crashing down around you. You may think you can afford it but it isn't about money. It's about mental health, addiction, self medication, being out of control. You want the best for your son, you have to be honest with yourself, this is a problem that you can't control. Get real help, find a gamanon meeting, learn about addiction. This can get far worse if you think it's gone away, this is forever.

Posted : 27th August 2018 10:45 am

I hear what you say and agree that there needs to be change. I am told him I am not not providing any financial support to cover the most recent relapse and he current has a number of pay day loans outstanding with different companies all adding up to about £ 8,000.

Is there any practical advice I can have in terms of getting him on a credit register that would not make it possible for him to gain further loans?

Also the GA meetings, would I be allowed to attend the sessions or are they purely just for gamblers? I would go with him if necessary as I know we need to tackle the addiction.

Today he registered with Gamstop for the 5 year period so I do believe he wants to quit gambling but needs help.

Posted : 27th August 2018 2:46 pm
Merry go round

Hi goose he should go to GA alone but there maybe a gamanon meeting on at same time. Depends where you are. Look on website to see where meetings are (gamanon). I have not heard of a register to stop him getting credit. Unfortunately the more they borrow and pay back the better their score. You could set up notifications with credit score companies (clear score, Experian, noddle) money saving expert is good site. Also debt camel site for advice.

Posted : 27th August 2018 8:53 pm


Sorry to see what's happening.

You seem to be spending a lot of energy worrying about this and finding potential solutions. What does he have to say about it? What is he doing about restricting his access to gambling and cash and finding debt solutions? Gamstop is a start but there are additional blocks available to him. Is he willing to use each and every one? He needs to be 110% on board with stopping. Not wanting to give GA a chance isn't a good sign but if he goes he needs to be doing it willingly, not just because you want him to go.

re. restricting access to credit, I researched this extensively and unfortunately unlike the US it appears it's not possible to put a freeze on credit applications here. The best I could come up with was notices of correction registered with every agency stating Mr L did not wish to be offered or extended credit facilities even if he applied for them and/or appeared to qualify. These had to come from and be signed by him. I also monitor every credit report regularly and pay for email alerts which will notify me if anything changes inbetween reports. Not foolproof because nothing is if they're determined to gamble but it fills a gap.

If your son will agree (and qualifies) a debt management plan via an agency like Payplan or Stepchange should trash his credit record fairly comprehensively for as long as it lasts meaning lenders should be much more reluctant to take him on. Defaults (I was happy to let this happen on Mr L's reports because of the protective effect) and CCJ's are on record for six years.

Posted : 27th August 2018 11:21 pm

Hi Goose,

Sorry to hear of the troubles you and your family are having. I can mirror all what is said above regarding your sons willingness to stop gambling. He needs to want to do it for him to even be slightly successful.

My advice would be, please please please don’t bail him out! Firstly he needs to understand and face the consequences of his actions.. even is that does mean having a few markers on his credit file. He needs to own up to this and unfortunately, the loving and caring parents that you are will not solve the problem by giving him a bailout. You can still support him with his finances but don’t be the bank of mum and dad as he will never quit otherwise. I’d suggest if you haven’t done already, to sit down with him and go through each and every loan, working out his expenditures and how much HE can pay back each month. Once you set up the direct debits, I would recommend you take control of his debit card and give him cash from his own money when he needs the essentials. And I mean essentials.

Together, set up a Noddle account so you can see access to his credit file.. and when he makes applications for further credit. I.e credit cards etc.

Glad he has registered with GamStop. I would also look at setting up GamBan as this blocks access to websites from the devices themselves. Really there are loads of options for support but your son will never want to change or quit if he is continually wrapped in cotton wool when it’s crunch time. I know it’s easier said than done but support and tough love will go along way!

All the best,


Posted : 28th August 2018 8:56 am

Thank you for the advice. We have agreed to sit down and go through his finances and identify a payment schedule for all the outstanding debts. If he cannot make the debt payments work, we will look at solutions available through debt palnning providers, even if it damages his credit rating.

All his gambling has been done online from his smart phone. All very easy and convenient.

Ideally I would not want him to have access any future loans unitl he gets on top of his addiction.

I am interested in the services provided by Noddle and will investigate this further plus the Gamban application / solutiion.

In terms of his addiction, the nearest Gamanon meeting is 70 miles away so need to look at other counselling services more local.

Posted : 28th August 2018 3:22 pm
Cynical wife

There’s a saying about putting the same time and energy into giving up gambling as was put into gambling in the first place. Same applies to bailing out.

GamAnon is for friends and family of gamblers and GA is for gamblers. GA is a larger fellowship so maybe there are more meetings? If not, seventy miles each way is a long journey but not prohibitive.

Go to meetings, even if he refuses. It’s worth the time and travel if your life is to change.

Also, understand that the addiction and the dysfunction that goes with it is the real problem. The money is secondary.


Posted : 28th August 2018 4:38 pm
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