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Gambling Debt – Your Options to Tackle

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gambling debt

Gambling is a big part of British culture and, more often than not, can fuel debt-related issues.

Whether you’re placing football accumulators on weekends or gambling more frequently with online casinos, things can quickly spiral out of control after losing a few bets and trying to recover losses.

If you have found yourself in the unfortunate position of accumulating gambling debt, there are options that can help you.

This article covers everything related to gambling debt. It includes information on how to differentiate between gambling for fun and the warning signs that indicate a potential gambling problem.

Additionally, we discuss the ways in which gambling debt can affect people’s daily lives and offer solutions for getting back on track.

From Fun to Problem: The Thin Line of Gambling

Sometimes, the difference between problem gambling and the occasional flutter is not as clear-cut as it seems.

It is not unusual for an occasional flutter once a week to turn into twice weekly. Once you’re comfortable with two bets a week being the new norm, a third a week doesn’t seem too bad.

Sound familiar?

This could be a tell-tale sign that a person betting for fun is now heading a problem gambler.

What causes gambling to become out of control?

There are several common reasons as to why someone has gambling problems. As everyone’s circumstances are unique, you may find a few of the issues blend into one.

You are gambling to cope with other issues in your life

Gambling habits can arise as a coping mechanism for things that are or have happened in your life. For some, the exhilaration and adrenalin rush that winning a bet can bring can create a temporary escape route from the negative thoughts and events in the back of your mind.

These negative events could be something such as relationship issues or trying to cope with a significant past trauma such as abuse.

Gambling is part of your socialising

Gambling companies and establishments, such as casinos and betting pools, tend to promote social interaction among their patrons.

It’s understandable that for some, gambling can become an anchor that keeps them hooked. This is especially true if you feel that gambling is the only way they can stay connected to your social circle.

When you gamble in these settings, you often feel a sense of community and enjoy playing games with others.

One may not feel a part of this community outside of gambling, which makes it all the more appealing to you.

This can often mask the money being gambled and likely lost during the process.

To pay off debts

A common reason gambling becomes problematic is attempting to win big to pay off debts.

The idea of quickly resolving financial troubles through a big win can be very appealing, especially to those in significant debt.

Many are drawn to the excitement and potential rewards of gambling, but it’s important to remember it’s not a guaranteed solution to financial issues.

Gambling to pay off debts often results in chasing losses. This occurs when individuals continue gambling to win back money they have already lost, often digging themselves deeper into financial distress.

Each loss increases the desperation to recover the deficit, perpetuating a cycle that can be hard to break.

Rather than relieving financial pressures, gambling can often exacerbate them.

The odds are inherently against the gambler, and consistent winnings are not guaranteed.

Money lost through gambling means less money available to pay debts, potentially leading to increased borrowing, falling behind on bills, or even defaulting on credit agreements.

Gambling For Entertainment

Just as some people spend money on nights out, movies or sporting events, you may be spending your money with online gambling companies purely for entertainment.

The problem with gambling for entertainment purposes is no different to those other ways of spending.

If you can afford to meet your household bills without the amount being gambled, then this could be deemed as within the confines of the ordinary.

However, if the amounts spent have the potential to lead to financial difficulties later on, this could be considered a gambling problem.

How do I know when my gambling is an issue?

So we’ve discussed why people gamble, but how do you know when your betting has become a gambling addiction?

Loss of Control

One of the clearest signs of a gambling addiction is the inability to stop or control gambling behaviours, even when you have made a conscious decision to stop.

Examples of this type of behaviour could be gambling more often or for more extended periods than intended.

Financial Problems

Gambling and debt are often synonymous with one another, with personal finances understandably taking a hit when bets don’t come in.

If you’re experiencing financial difficulties such as increased debt levels, betting with borrowed money or gambling with money that is for priority bills, these are strong indicators of a gambling habit.

Needing to take out a credit card, payday loans or a personal loan to keep on top of finances signifies a problem with gambling debt. Additionally, if you are missing payments on bill payments by gambling further, it is another clear sign you have a gambling problem.

Chasing Losses

Frequently trying to recover lost money is a common pattern in gambling addictions, and is one of the clearest signs you are likely to lose even more money.

When trying to recover gambling debts, more often than not the size of the bets and frequency dramatically increase in search of that one large winning return to bring you back in the black.

This is a vicious cycle that more often than not does not work and creates more money worries and an even greater inability to repay debts.

Neglecting Responsibilities

If gambling habits begin to take precedence over responsibilities such as your job, studies or family duties, it’s a sign you have a gambling addiction that needs addressing.

As the gambling addiction takes more of a stranglehold on your focus, this will impact personal relationships with family and friends, that could have serious consequences if left unaddressed such as breakups of marriage.

Concealing Your Gambling

Feeling the need to lie about your frequency of betting, or your gambling debts from family and friends would indicate an unhealthy gambling problem.

Sometimes, you may rationalise this choice by not wanting to feel judged on how you spend your money. However, what is likely the case is that you recognise you have a problem gambling and continue to engage in the activity.

Impact on Relationships

As briefly touched on above, if your gambling debts are having a direct effect on your relationships with family and friends you have gambling problems.

This could be alienating yourself from social circles, or arguing with a partner due to issues caused by gambling such as lack of money or a negative state due to betting losses.

Negative Emotional Impact

Gambling, debt and mental health are all intertwined in several ways.

Feelings of depression, desperation and anxiety are all related to problem gambling and its effects. If you are feeling any of these conditions from guilt and shame of gambling debt then this indicates problem gambling.

Can gambling debts affect my credit rating?

Like any debt, mismanagement of gambling debt can have serious consequences for your credit rating.

No different to a credit card, if you are regularly spending more than you can afford than you are more likely to be missing payments.

Missing such payments leads to negative markers being attached to your credit report which will make it harder to apply for lending such as a credit card or personal loan in the future.

Most gambling websites will allow you to put a limit on spending, which if you feel can help you balance what you can afford to gamble without financial consequences, this could help you avoid a negative impact on your file.

What Gambling Debt Help Is Available?

Here at PennyPlan, we understand that the hardest part of seeking gambling debt advice and help can be opening up to someone about the issue.

Our friendly, understanding team are here to lend and ear and discuss the options available for you to remedy both the gambling and debt problems.

All 100% confidential, our service offers not just a debt solution, but also free counselling to address the underlying issue of gambling.

A debt solution only solves the tip of the iceberg, without addressing the underlying problem gambling and mental health issues, you are likely to have further debt problems again further down the line.

We’ll discuss all the various options available to you that you may potentially be eligible for, some of which could potentially write off a percentage of the money owed.

Start the road to recovery today with our confidential gambling debt advice team by contacting us.

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*Mortgage debt can be included if you no longer own the property in question.

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Find out for FREE what debt help is available to you

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Get information today on your available options