Coping With Gambling Debt

Bob G. and his wife Joan hit bottom with their gambling addiction. Admitting that they had run out of cash, they met with Clearpoint Credit Counseling Solutions, a certified consumer credit counseling service, to analyze their finances. When they faced the numbers, they realized they had nearly $37,000 in casino debt. What they had been thinking of as a hobby, with a win “right around the corner” had actually been pushing them deeper into debt each time they placed a bet.

Their consumer credit counselor recommended a debt management program. That enabled Bob and Joan to get control of their finances. Today, they focus their money skills on implementing their debt management program, and their winnings are the dollars piling up in their savings account each month.

When Gambling Costs Too Much

Rock bottom for Bob and Joan was running out of cash, but the key to their turnaround was in realizing they had simply lost control of their finances. If you can answer “yes” to any of these questions, you are likely depending on gambling to bail you out of financial trouble:

  1. Do you ever gamble to get money to pay debts?
  2. Do you often gamble until your last dollar is gone?
  3. Do you ever borrow to gamble?
  4. Are you reluctant to use “gambling money” for household expenses?
  5. Have you ever sold anything to finance your gambling?

Odds are slim that a big win is right around the corner. Better to take an objective look at the situation with an impartial consumer credit counseling service, trained to consider realistic options for your financial future.

Debt Management Options

It may look like there are several options for taking control of problem finances, but not all are good sources of long-term support.

  • Gambler’s Anonymous: Check www.gamblersanonymous.org to learn if there is a chapter near you. This organization can assist in the recovery process, help you create a simple budget and give advice on contacting creditors.
  • Debt consolidation: It sounds reasonable to pay several smaller debts with one large loan, but debt management experts warn that access to more cash is an invitation to slide back into gambling.
  • Bankruptcy: Debt management counselors advise this option as a last resort. Save this option for a true emergency—you can’t file again for seven years.

Gambling recovery experts agree that an impartial third party, like a consumer credit counselor, helps keep recovery efforts and a debt management program on track.

Our money management experts are trained to help people learn how to control their finances through Clearpoint Credit Counseling Solutions. Counselors will knowledgeably analyze finances, provide options and create a focused plan that can include a debt management program if necessary. Regular meetings with a credit counselor ensure that the plan is updated when situations change, and that it stays on track. No matter what your situation, you can begin today to create a sound financial future.