Is gambling affecting your finances?

Written by Chelsea Potter on 14 September 2016

Are you spending more than you want to on gambling?

A financial crisis is often the spur for someone to address a problem with gambling. You may find that you are struggling to cover bills or other vital expenses, taking out loans to cover gambling debts, and hiding it all from those closest to you.

It is not uncommon for family and friends of someone with a gambling problem to be completely unaware of gambling-related debt until a court summons arrives for non-payment, or in dire circumstances even repossession orders for the family home.

Financial problems can mount up very quickly. 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.

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 – you feel completely trapped.

In the end, if you’re struggling to control your gambling, losing more money and making the situation worse is almost inevitable.

Taking control of your debt problems and exploring your relationship with gambling can be very empowering. When you have a better understanding of why you find it difficult to control your gambling, you can begin to address other issues your gambling has created, and even move towards stopping gambling altogether.

Remember, be honest with yourself and share your problems with friends or family. Their support may help you to seek help for your gambling problem and advice about your debts.

I’m sure we have all taken part in some type of gambling before; a cheeky punt on horse racing at Cheltenham, an office whip round for the Grand National, a night at the dog tracks or a ‘couple of quid’ on the slot machines.

But what happens if it becomes an addiction?

What happens if it starts to rule your life? Are you unable to go through the month/week without gambling? Are you hiding your problem away from friends or family, living in secret?

Increasingly, many people are finding themselves in the situation where they are addicted to gambling and finding they are spiralling further into debt. In turn this is impacting on both their personal life, including relationships, and their professional lives too.

Perhaps you are gambling more to supplement your income following reduced hours at work? Are you gambling more just to make ends meet as cost of living increases?

Does this sound familiar?

The burden of debt and associated stresses can become too much and not knowing where to turn can further compound the desperate feelings. However, help is out there! Both for the root cause the actual gambling addiction and to tackle the debt itself. Online websites and organizations such as Gamcare and Gamblers Anonymous offer advice on gambling addiction and include forums for people who are looking to find ways to deal with their issues. You can chat anonymously to others who have experienced, or are experiencing similar problems to you without embarrassment.

Payplan offer free and impartial advice that can help you take the steps required to enable you to tackle your debts. No matter what the cause of your debts is, we can help you find the solution.

The only thing we ask is that you are willing to seek our help. The hardest step is to admit you have a problem. Once you have done so then you will be well on the way to recovering your finances, banishing the stress and ultimately taking control of your life again.

So if this is you, don’t delay any further.

Some useful numbers:

Gamcare’s HelpLine (8am – midnight, 7 days a week): 0808 8020 133

Click here for Gamblers Anonymous Live Operator phone/time list

Get help

The path to clearing your debts can take time and you may be faced with different pressures along the way. There will be times when you may feel desperate to gamble.

For expert information, advice and support about problem gambling, speak to specially trained Advisers on the National Gambling HelpLine on Freephone 0808 8020 133 or via web chat at www.gamcare.org.uk, available from 8am – Midnight, seven days a week.

GamCare also offer free online or face-to-face counselling for anyone affected by problem gambling, and their online Forum and Chatrooms are available daily. Visit www.gamcare.org.uk for more information.

A confidential support group, such as Gamblers Anonymous, where people with gambling problems meet to support each other each week, may also be helpful.


Filed under Living in Debt

This article was checked and deemed to be correct as at the above publication date, but please be aware that some things may have changed between then and now. So please don't rely on any of this information as a statement of fact, especially if the article was published some time ago.

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