With multiple major international sporting events taking place every year and weekly lottery draws of eye-watering amounts of cash, it is easy to get swept up in it. During all the excitement, you may be tempted to “have a flutter” or bet on the big game, but this harmless bit of fun for many can become a real problem for others. With nearly 1.4 million “problem gamblers” in the UK, it is evident that gambling debt has become a real issue. In this post, Debt Movement offers their expert guidance on how to deal with gambling debt.
Gambling addiction costs the UK around £1.2 billion a year, and casinos, lotteries and betting companies have done little to stop gambling debt from becoming a major problem. So now millions of people find their lives hugely affected by something that might have first been considered a “harmless bit of fun”. Keep reading to find out what you can do if your gambling debt has gone too far.
Gambling Warning Signs
For many people, it is difficult to admit that they have a gambling addiction. What is considered a bit of fun can get out of hand before you know it, and gambling debt can quickly accumulate. What are the signs that you or your loved one has a gambling problem? These are the most common warning signs:
- Betting more than you can afford
- Lying to friends and family about your betting habits
- Losing interest in other activities or constantly thinking about gambling
- Selling belongings to gamble
- Feeling stressed or anxious about your betting habits
- Missing debt payments or bills due to money spent on gambling
- Gambling to pay off debt.
If you or your loved ones are experiencing any of these warning signs, then it could mean that they are one of the 1.4 million “problem gamblers” in the UK. If this is the case, there is no need to worry or feel ashamed, but now may be the time to get professional help both financially and emotionally.
How Can Gambling Debt Impact Your Life?
Gambling is on the rise, and for many gamblers, this harmless fun can become a life-changing experience. Learning how to deal with gambling debt isn’t just a difficult task that puts your finances under stress; it can affect many other aspects of your life and impact everyone differently.
Gambling debt has a significant impact on your personal finances and will most likely lead to financial difficulties. When people suffer from gambling debt, they will often try to fund their habit by taking out payday loans, credit cards or even going over their overdrafts. These short-term fixes can often lead to you just getting into more financial difficulty and leave you struggling to pay bills.
Secondly, gambling debt can have a huge impact on your mental health and wellbeing. The feelings of shame, anxiety, depression, low self-esteem and even insomnia can put a strain on every aspect of your life and make you feel very alone.
Finally, gambling debt can affect relationships. Financial difficulties can put a major strain on your personal and professional relationships. You may find yourself spending less time with your loved ones or doing your work and more time gambling. You may even find yourself more irritable and argumentative because of the newfound financial stress you are under.
How to Deal with Gambling Debt
Identify Your Debts
The first step in dealing with any kind of addiction is to admit that you have a problem and that you need some help. The next step in dealing with your gambling debt is to make a list of all the money you owe. This way, you will have a list of the creditors you owe and the amount you will have to repay.
Once you know what and who you owe money to, you will want to prioritise your debts by their level of urgency. If you have debts that could somehow lead to your property being repossessed or you have bills for essentials like gas and electricity, then you will want to focus on paying them off first. After you have paid these debts, you can then focus on the high-interest debts to save yourself some money in the long run.
Pay What You Can
Once you have a better idea of the amount of money you have to repay and which debts you need to pay off first, it’s a good time to take any available cash or finances that you have and pay off what you can. Don’t leave yourself short so that you don’t have enough money to make it through the month, but if you can, start making a dent in that gambling debt and stop the interest from mounting up.
Consider Your Debt Solutions
Get professional guidance with your gambling debt and explore Debt Movement’s debt solutions. Although terms like “IVA” and “Debt Consolidation” can sound a little overwhelming, our experts are here to help you get your finances back under control.
Discover our five leading debt solutions:
An IVA is an agreement with your creditors to pay off a sum of money over a fixed period or as a lump sum. At the end of the repayment period, creditors agree to write off the remaining debt.
Generally considered a last resort, this is an agreement that gives governing bodies the power to seize your assets.
Combine multiple debts and take out a larger loan with lower interest rates, which can be used to pay off the other loans.
This arrangement with creditors enables you to pay a smaller amount of money over an extended period.
A DRO is a bankruptcy alternative for people who have little to no assets.
Get Help with Your Gambling Addiction
The final step to dealing with your gambling debts is by treating the problem at its root cause. Ensure that you get professional help for your gambling addiction so that this problem doesn’t come back again. There are a range of places where you can get help, from your local GP to GamCare and even national support groups like Gamblers Anonymous. Don’t deal with these problems by yourself. Take advantage of the support around you and take the sure bet to success.