Gambling debt help & advice

Gambling involves the wagering of money on an entertainment or sporting event with an uncertain outcome. The intent of the gambler is to win cash or goods but often it doesn’t have a pleasing outcome. Gambling involves an amount of risk, but despite the possibility of loss, many people continue to gamble on a regular basis. For some, it develops into a habit which needs professional help and it can also place a strain on relationships and families, leading to separation and divorce.

How do I deal with gambling losses?

If you feel overwhelmed by gambling and are losing too much cash, it’s important to step back and take a break from gambling. If the losses are beginning to pile up and you are falling into a debt trap, then trying to rectify the loss by gambling more in the hope of a remote win, is not the answer. You must rethink your gambling and acknowledge you are finding it difficult to ignore. This is the first step in the process of getting yourself back on track.

Can gambling debts be enforced?

If you are allowed credit, then the debt is not enforceable. This form of lending would lie outside of the Consumer Credit Act 1974. This is the reason why when placing bets online you must use a debit or prepaid card. A credit card is not permitted. If you’ve borrowed money from elsewhere and are putting it toward gambling, then the resulting debts are similar to other debts.

I’ve got into debt because of gambling, can I get out of this debt?

The first point to remember is not to panic as there is help out there, and so many other people are in the same situation. Expert help is required to help deal with gambling addiction. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer to gambling problems, and different methods solve the habit for different people. Your GP is a good place to begin, especially if your gambling addiction is affecting your health. Your GP will provide you with information on the options available in the area. An example might be counselling or cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). There are confidential support groups such as Gamblers Anonymous which will also provide help and support. Again, your GP will be able to advise. If a loved one develops a gambling problem, this can put a huge strain on your relationship and household finances. They should be encouraged to get help to deal with the debt.

Can gambling debt impact my credit score?

Many people are concerned that gambling will affect their credit score. Lenders may well assume that they’re untrustworthy with money. Having a low credit score can have a detrimental impact on getting loans and credit cards. Spending money on gambling and the constant trickle of money out of your accounts will make you unappealing to lenders because there’s a risk that you may fritter away too much cash and become unable to pay back the loan.

Can banks help with gambling debt?

Banks can be supportive when it comes to addressing debt, with many having specialist advisors in place to speak to customers. Missing bills and incurring fees will only add to the stress. If you are in this position, you should contact the bank and work together on creating a manageable repayment plan that you can afford. The support advisor can also organise a longer-term plan to put you on the road to recovery. The support advisor will explain the procedure and address all the issues that might arise. The bank is aware that debts will not disappear on their own. If you get in touch, they will ask about your income and bills, so you can be confident you’re only repaying what you can afford such as rent or mortgage essentials and other household bills.

Do mortgage lenders look at gambling?

The prospect of applying for a mortgage, if you are a gambler and have debt, can be daunting. Dabbling in occasional gambling, the amount of cash you use and the number of times you bet can all play a part in a lender’s decision. If your bank transactions show that you are inclined to bet in a high-risk manner, you may find lenders will refuse an application. Lenders will look at your gambling pattern in relation to your personal income, but small bets here and there should not have a major impact. Each lender has their own set of criteria, so if you are a keen gambler, it’s best to try to reduce the habit.

Without knowing where to look for a mortgage or how to obtain the best deals for your individual needs, it may feel like you’re hunting in the dark. However, mortgage brokers will be able to offer you help and guidance as they have access to hundreds of mortgages which detail their rates. The broker will work for you to obtain quotations from those mortgage lenders who are more likely to lend to you.

Am I liable for my spouse’s gambling debts?

It’s a worry that concerns many spouses and one that can put a strain on the relationship as well as drain the family finances. You can’t be held responsible for debts accumulated in your husband, wife, or partner’s name. However, if they have taken out debts in your name without your authority, this represents fraud. You won’t be responsible for paying the debt back, but you would have to notify the police of the fraudulence. It’s important to watch your finances closely, paying attention to any debits from your bank accounts. It may be that your husband or partner is hiding the scale of the gambling issue from you. There is help available from the many organisations around the country and this should be your first port of call. They can reassure you where you stand legally.

Can I legally write off my gambling debts if I can’t pay them back?

There are many debt solutions available and the one you choose will be dependent upon your personal circumstances. A free debt advice charity will help you understand your options, but most solutions will have a detrimental impact upon your credit score, making it much more difficult for you to obtain credit. Simple exercises like opening a new bank account, obtaining a car loan or trying to get a credit card will prove difficult. A debt management plan is set up between you and the creditor. It involves you paying back a sum that you can afford on non-essential debts that aren’t secured against your home, after considering household bills.

A debt management plan is usually arranged by a third party although many people will try to seek out one run by a charity which is usually free of charge. This agreement details how much you will pay back within a certain timeframe. You will normally enter into an agreement to pay back a sum monthly to the debt management organisation. It will then pay the creditors. Before you decide to enter into a debt management plan, it is important to obtain advice. If however, you feel an IVA (Individual Voluntary Arrangement) is better suited to you, you can apply for one provided the debt is more than £15,000.

Setting up an IVA, a legally binding arrangement between you and those you owe money to can set you back several thousand pounds which can include an annual fee. Your debts will be frozen and you will then pay back what you owe over a period of around five years. Any money owed at the end of the IVA is written off. An IVA is suited to many debts including personal loans, credit card sums, catalogue and hire purchases and money owed to HM Revenue & Customs. You can’t use an IVA to pay rent or child support arrears, as well as your mortgage and other debts secured on the home. The best advice is to make yourself familiar with what is included and excluded before you sign up. Some people opt for bankruptcy. This provides a means of dealing with debts that you are unable to pay. It enables you to make a fresh start but there are ties that come with it. Again, it’s best to obtain expert guidance before declaring bankruptcy.

Seeking advice before you take out a re-payment plan is necessary as different options will suit different people. The DebtBuffer site is a useful tool if you find yourself in an unfortunate position with debt building up. The site provides all the information you need to help you compose letters in a bid to buy time from creditors. The handy AI chatbot will provide a number of options to help you address your debt concerns. The chatbot will pose a series of questions to enable you to ascertain if you are a good candidate for one of the possible debt solutions on offer to enable you to get back on track with your finances.

Most of all, don’t despair as help is available and you will not be the only person seeking help. Start dealing with your debts as soon as you can to make the process more accessible.