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Gambling Debts: When A Gambling Problem Creates Financial Havoc

Updated on April 27, 2014

Gambling Debts Can Linger For Years

The stress that gambling debts can cause for a person can be huge. Even when a person with a gambling problem stops gambling, the debt can still linger for years.

This is very different than when someone stops drinking or taking drugs. Usually he or she can resume their life and pick up the pieces. Health will usually return to normal, and social and occupational, emotional issues usually resolve themselves.

Unfortunately this is not the case with a gambling problem. An individual with this addiction can stop gambling and still be in debt for many years. These consequences and their ramifications can be huge and can be a great burden on the gambler and his or her family.

This economic burden can create a lot of stress, and can sometimes lead a gambler back to gambling, thinking that their next bet will get them out of their predicament.

Gambling Debts Create Stress

Gambling Debts And Suicide

Many studies have shown that those with a gambling addiction/problem have the highest rates of suicide compared to other addictions. Many attempt suicide but do not succeed, however, some do complete the act. Some of these actions or the results of gambling debts acquired during the active addiction.

I have read many stories about people committing suicide as a result of the financial consequences of gambling.

Some people owed money to illegal loan sharks, payday loans, or mounting credit card debts. Many have also borrowed money against their home, and then go on to lose the home.

Thousands of dollars in debt can seem insurmountable, and many people see no way out of their predicament.

Many spouses and children of gamblers have no idea that the gambler lost so much money until it got to the point of no return.

This is called a "silent addiction" because you cannot smell gambling on someone, they do not stagger, or slur their speech. They just keep losing dollar after dollar, digging a bigger and bigger financial hole for themselves.

How Do Gambling Debts Accumulate?

Gambling debts can accumulate over time as a person spends money that he or she does not have to fund gambling. This can be the result of borrowing money from the casino (markers), loan sharks, payday loans, equity lines of credit, personal loans, credits cards, and borrowing from ones 401K or retirement savings.

When people gamble compulsively they cannot stop. They just want to stay "in action" and the only way to do this is with money. Many gamblers do not play to win, and just play to play. If the gambler wins money, he or she is most likely to gamble it away again to try to recapture the initial high of winning.

This can happen in only a few short months or can happen over a period have many years. Whatever the case is, the debts can add up quickly into several thousands of dollars.

Many people with gambling debts have no money to retire with, cannot pay their utility bills, or even buy food. And yes, it does get this bad from many of the stories that I have read.

Many are out on the street after losing their home, and have to stay in shelters. Gambling is a horrible addiction that does indeed have these consequences.

Gambling Debt Solutions

There are many things that you or a loved on can do regarding solutions for gambling debt. You do not have to sit with this problem alone and feel like there is no way out. There are ways to get your finances under control.


1. Stop gambling now. You want to do whatever you can to stop the financial bleeding. Do whatever you can to help yourself. You can see a therapist/counselor or even someone from the clergy. There are also many resources that you can go to for help which I will list below.

2. Gather all of your gambling debts to see what you actually owe. This is important to know. Make sure you gather up everything you can, leaving no stone unturned. This includes payday lenders, loan sharks, credit cards, home equity loans and lines of credit.

3. Once you have all of this information you want to visit a "non-profit: credit counseling agency. Do not go to any debt settlement/ debt consolidation "for-profit" agency. You may wind up owing more many than you owe right now. Remember.. you want to get out of gambling debt.. and not accrue more debt than you already have.

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    • profile image

      Gert 

      3 years ago

      Ya learn soinehmtg new everyday. It's true I guess!

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