Gambling Debt Help & Advice


For a lot of people, gambling is a way to make watching football matches a bit more engaging. For others, however, gambling can lead to a series of issues, from lowering self-esteem to causing serious money worries, up to and including bankruptcy.

In this guide, we’ll explore gambling debt, including the link between gambling problems and problem debt, and where you find money advice if your gambling habit is getting out of control.



What is gambling debt?

Chasing lady luck with a flutter on horse racing or placing your bets on your favourite football team can seem like fun, however, gambling debt is a serious problem across Scotland and the rest of the UK.

According to recent research by the Gambling Commission 66 per cent of adults in Scotland have splashed cash on gambling activities compared with just 56 per cent in England and 55 per cent in Wales.

Gambling debt is a consequence of a betting addiction – the money struggles that come with ploughing your savings into your habit can cause problem gamblers to alienate their friends and family, fall into serious debt, and can even end in bankruptcy.

Write off up to 70% of your unsecured debt – Check if you qualify

How do does being a problem gambler affect your life?

For many people gambling is just a way of life. Something they do for a little fun every so often and have total control over.

However, when debts begin to add up that’s when the fun stops for many and gambling debt can have a serious impact on day-to-day life.

Money problems

It is hardly surprising that a person who struggles with compulsive gambling is likely to experience financial difficulties.

It might not seem like a lot at first, but gambling debt can force someone to cut back on non-essential spending and be left without money to cover priority bills like household bills or council tax.

Gamblers often fund their habits using credit cards, overdrafts, payday loans, and in some instances even family members’ debit cards with the hope of winning it all back. This can lead to a destructive habit that’s hard to break.

Relationships with friends and family

Gambling debt doesn’t simply have an impact on the life of the person placing the bets but also those closest to them. Just as there’s a stigma about talking about debt, there is also a stigma against gambling problems which can make speaking out about a problem all the more difficult.

Allowing it to fester will only cause financial strain which can lead to arguments between partners, families and friends whilst compulsive gambling can lead to spending less time with those who matter most.

Work relationships can also feel the brunt too as gambling debt and secretiveness and lies can often go hand in hand, leading to anxiety and loss of concentration.

Mental health issues

Just as gambling can bring euphoric highs, gambling can bring extreme lows and as such have a serious impact on mental health.

From anxiety and stress to sleepless nights and depression, gambling addiction is often the source of more than one mental health problem.

Like any addiction, gambling can cause people to lose interest in other activities, their social life and even cause lack of concentration at work and can lead to spend more time placing bets.

What are the warning signs of problem gambling?

If you’re worried that you or a loved one has a problem with gambling, it’s important to be aware of the warning signs that trouble could lie ahead.

Prioritising gambling over essential bills, being secretive, consistently over spending and feeling guilty are all signs that shouldn’t be ignored.

Other sings of gambling problems include having unpaid bills, turning to loans and credit cards to cover the cost of essentials or further gambling and withdrawal from social events can also indicate a gambling addiction.

What happens if you don’t pay back money you owe from gambling?

While gambling is an addiction, and there is help and support available to sufferers, that may not protect you financially if you have built up gambling debts you can’t afford to repay.

Gambling debt is enforceable. That means there are legal ways your creditors can force you to repay, from seeking court action like a County Court Judgement (CCJ) to having debt collectors visit your home in order to recoup the money you owe.

Any debts you accrue will also have a negative impact on your credit score, making it more difficult for you to take out a credit card, be accepted for a mortgage, or get a loan.

If you want to avoid the stressful experience of being chased for your debts, you should seek debt advice immediately.

A massive thank you

“I’d like to say a massive thank you to Carrington Dean for helping me. It feels like I have control of my life again.”

What to do if you have gambling debt problems

Admitting you’re living with a problem of any kind is one of the hardest things to do in life. However, if you think you might be struggling with gambling debt the most important thing is to take action as soon as possible to prevent the problem from becoming worse.

There are simple steps you can take to address the problem and begin making changes to regain control.

Speak to friends and family about problem gambling

This is possibly the most difficult thing to do but opening up about a gambling problem and gambling debt is the first step on the road to recovery.

Speaking to a trusted friend or family member will not only let you clear your head but also lift the stress of hiding from the problem off your shoulders.

Exclude yourself as a betting customer

Do you visit a certain bookmakers, casino or bingo hall every day? Betting shops should allow customers to exclude themselves which means that staff will refuse service.

Online betting also offers a similar function, meaning you can prevent yourself from logging on to gambling websites.

Adapt your personal and gambling habits

If your recovery is to be successful it’s important to make personal changes in the first instance.

Noticing patterns in your gambling will help you to adjust your lifestyle without huge hardship.

This could be something as simple as taking a different route to work to avoid walking past a betting shop, or taking a break from watching sports broadcasts if the ad breaks encourage you to place a bet.

Seek professional support for gambling addictions

If you’re living with a gambling addiction and attempting to deal with your gambling debts the most important thing to remember is that you’re not alone.

Joining a support group, such as Gamblers Anonymous, can be a way to open up about your problem, free of judgement, with others who understand your situation.

Get gambling debt help

A gambling addiction and gambling debt go hand in hand like the ultimate partners in crime making it imperative to get help with what you owe.

All unsecured debts, including gambling debt, can be included in debt solutions such as Trust Deed or Debt Arrangement Scheme allowing you to manage what you owe.

However, it’s important to note that to be eligible for help with gambling debt you must be able to prove you are taking steps to resolve your problem.

Find out if you qualify to write off up to 70% of your unsecured debt!

Where can I get debt advice and support for gambling debts?

Struggling to control your gambling habit is a real weight to live with. You may be hiding your addiction from friends and family, and many people end up in problem debt or even bankruptcy without their partner ever realising the extent of their problems.

If you have a gambling problem that’s in danger of turning into a money problem, talk to Carrington Dean today.

We’re Scotland’s debt specialists, and we help people deal with money issues associated with gambling every day, from credit card debt to loan debt and more.

For free debt advice from a friendly adviser, contact Carrington Dean today on 0800 043 1320.