What Are My Options If I Cannot Afford to Repay Gambling Debts?
The answer to this question, is almost in another question due to the fact you need to know the source of your gambling debts; who do you owe?
If you owe money on credit cards, loans, overdrafts and standard debt accounts, you have options.
If money is owed due to a gambling issue and it is owed to an individual, you still have options, but the individual may not be bound, or wish to adhere to those options.
Let’s look more at this.
It would seem that everywhere you go, the High Streets, the main streets, online, mobile applications, etc, there are betting/gaming shops.
Then look around at the Bingo Parlours, the Social Clubs and pubs offering Bingo as a source of entertainment.
And don’t forget, cash is usually the prize when you play.
There are ads on TV, which of course have the disclaimer, “when the fun stops, stop”.
And lest we forget the Lottery, which is a form of gambling.
Gambling is a billion pound industry, last year over £14 billion was spent on gambling!
That’s a lot of pulls on a fruit machine.
Of course not all this money is “dirty” by gambling.
The gambling sector gives £296 million to good causes, the National Lottery gives £1.5 billion to charities and good causes, and gambling here in the UK employs almost 108,000 people.
So what do we wager on, anything, and I mean anything, from sports to the weather, to if Aliens will land on Earth.
Go on, place a bet on the Aliens.
The funds to gamble come in various ways, but a large portion can be the use of credit. Cash and one’s wages are a strong source, but once that pool dries up, a gambler will move onto credit cards, overdrafts, and loans.
In looking at gambling as entertainment and an addiction, we need to look at why gambling can become an addiction, and there are many reasons why, a person’s personality, and also a concept called intermittent reinforcement.
This form of reinforcement is the strongest of the reinforcers, in part due to the fact you never know when you will receive the prize or reinforcement; which in gambling is a win.
Since you never know when you may win, you continue to play waiting and hoping for that reinforcement/win. Then when you get it, the win, intermittently, it only makes you want to play/gamble more.
As to where the money comes from for gamblers to gamble, it can be in two forms:
If a gambler uses their wages to gamble and lose, either they stop at a certain point, when they have lost what they feel they can afford to lose, or they continue until the money is gone. And that is where many gambling addicts wind up, losing all their wages.
Then to continue gambling, or to make ends met and pay bills until they get paid again, they may rely on credit. Credit cards, loans, overdrafts, even borrows from friends and family.
If the spiral of gambling and debt continues, one can find themselves with thousands and thousands of pounds of debt, that they may not be able to repay.
Applying for more credit/credit cards, in the hopes of a big win, only keeps the debt growing, until one day, there is no more access to credit.
Options With Gambling Debts
The options a person who is insolvent and has gambling debts, are the same to someone whose debts are not related to gambling, with a few minor exceptions.
The one exception is bankruptcy. You can include gambling debts in a bankruptcy or DRO/Debt Relief Order, however, you will in all probability receive a BRO/Bankruptcy Restriction Order, which keeps you under the restrictions of bankruptcy longer than 12 months.
This means you cannot access credit again until the BRO is lifted or over.
This does not mean that you cannot place the accounts in a debt management plan for a period of time, prior to then going bankrupt, or possibly in an IVA/Individual Voluntary Arrangement; however an IVA may be tricky depending on how new the accounts/debts are.
In addition, if you were to go bankrupt, it is always best if you have sought out help with the gambling, such as attending Gamblers Anonymous.
These options are considering you owe money on credit cards, loans, overdrafts, and other debts to a lending institution, not to an individual.
If you owe money to an individual from gambling, depending on the nature of the loan, if it is a formal loan documented with an agreement, or informal, the individual may not wish to work with you through a debt management plan, or accept any notices of bankruptcy.
So there are options with gambling debts, but you need to deal with the main issue first, and that is what brought about the debt.