Gambling debt has become a big problem in the society. It causes financial hardship, anxiety, and heartache to those affected by it.
You may be reading this as a concerned party, or perhaps a run of bad luck has seen you eat further and further into your overdraft or racking up hefty credit card bills. Whether it be poker, slots or online casinos and betting apps this article will give you 5 great ways to deal with gambling debt, and retake control of your finances.
1. Figure Out If You Have A Gambling Problem
Often we associate gambling debt with gambling addiction. But addiction is a powerful term and certainly won’t apply to everyone that has a gambling debt. Sometimes it just comes down to something as simple as not being able to stop chasing a win and making poor choices. Let’s face it, we all make bad decisions in life.
The key here is to have a good look at your gambling behavior. Do you frequently and habitually have “bad runs of luck” or is this a one-off? If you find yourself justifying the gambling, there is a fair chance you have a gambling problem.
You should seek help as soon as you have got aware of your gambling problem. An excellent place to start the road to recovery is by contacting your doctor and arranging some support.
2. Understand That Further Gambling Won’t Resolve the Issue
Gambling is always tipped in the house’s favour, not in the punters. For there to be any winners, there are always a significant number of losers. It is important not to think that you can ride out the wave and win big and everything will be fixed.
Understanding this is the next psychological barrier that you might have to deal with. The honest truth is you’re highly unlikely to recoup even a portion of the debt with a win, and on the flipside of the coin you are very likely to lose more, and the debt will become even more unmanageable.
3. Cut off your Avenues of Funding
This isn’t foolproof and some funding streams will always need to remain open just to function on a day to day basis such as a bank account. But cutting up credit cards and freezing other lines of credit is undoubtedly the right thing to do in this situation.
If you are helping a loved one deal with the issue, make sure they have no hidden avenues of credit. Also, be prepared for the fact that once the credit has been shut off, they may resort to desperate measures. Theft to feed a gambling addiction is not what you would want to encourage. It is vital if helping a loved one that they have professional as well as personal support during this challenging time.
4. Close Down Gambling Accounts and Cancel Memberships
Again, another mental boundary to overcome. But physically closing out gambling accounts, and blocking the related adversiting is a good strong step to removing gambling from your life. It will also prevent you from receiving promotions designed to keep you gambling.
Some people struggle with this aspect a lot, but once all of your accounts and memberships are closed, you can focus on getting back on your feet and finding financial freedom again.
5. Prioritise the Debts as You Pay Them Back
This is our last tip and comes after all other steps have been taken care of. Only after you have completed the previous 4 steps, you should start working out which debts to pay off first.
Negotiate With Creditors
Call your creditors if you are having difficulty paying debts. If you’re in financial hardship, a creditor should freeze the interest and allow you to arrange to pay off the debt in smaller payments. This will likely take a knock on your credit profile, but you can fix that at a later point. For now, you need to concentrate on clearing down the debt.
Cleaning Out the Debt
If you can afford to make the payments on the debts, then do so as you normally would. If you find that by stopping gambling you have a bit of disposable income that you hadn’t previously had then make overpayments on debts where possible. If making overpayments on debt make sure you are clearing down the debts with the highest interest rate first.
This can be a very trying and difficult time, it may even take long months or even years to work through the 5 steps on the list fully, but it will be liberating when you do. We wish you or your loved one all the best and hope our guide has helped.