Gambling Debt: How to Start Repairing Your Family’s Finances Posted On

Gambling addictions very often result in significant financial losses. It’s not uncommon for tens and even hundreds of thousands of dollars to be the gambling debt of a single individual.

Credit cards are opened and used to their limits. Property and possessions are traded and sold. Bills go unpaid. Money is borrowed from family members and friends.

And at the end, the total cost of gambling has stacked up significantly.

What can you do?

Start Your Gambling Addiction & Gambling Debt Recovery

Before any sort of financial plan to repay debts can begin, the problem gambler must first begin his or her recovery. Gambling must be stopped. Find the counselor, support groups or rehabilitation treatment center needed to keep the recovery on track and help begin to repair relationships with family members and friends. If you’re the problem gambler, you’ll have to work on your own relationship with yourself, building up self respect and hope for your future.

Find out how to seek help for problem gambling, and find the local opportunities for family members to get the support they need as they work to repair the consequences of addiction.

Outline a List of All Debts That Need to be Repaid

For a financial recovery to begin, there needs to be complete honesty about all debts that exist. Outline a comprehensive list of all debts, such as:

  • The debt of one or more credit cards
  • Unpaid utility bills, phone and cable bills, insurance or other regularly-scheduled payments
  • Past-due mortgage or rent payments
  • Open tabs or credits at various gaming and sports venues
  • Money borrowed from family members and friends that must be returned, whether partially or in full
  • Money that had been pulled out of savings or other funds the family depends on for the future

For progress to be made, every debt must be exposed to your spouse or head of household, anyone that depends on you for necessities, and anyone working with you to get out of debt, such as an attorney or trained counselor.

Name the Person Responsible for the Finances of the Problem Gambler

If you are the problem gambler, it is likely your access to your family’s paychecks, savings accounts and other financial accounts will be taken away. Early in your recovery, you will need to be focused on staying away from gambling opportunities, and being restricted from money sources will help everyone.

Someone else, such as your husband, wife or parents, will take responsibility for managing bills and making payments where necessary. He or she (or they) will be in charge of managing your finances, and may choose to give you money only when a purpose for its spending is defined. This lack of control for your own money can lessen overtime as your recovery progresses.

Contact the Appropriate Professionals to Help You Plan Your Financial Recovery

When you or the problem gambler you know begins seeing a counselor and/or members of a support group such as Gamblers Anonymous, ask for advice on who to speak to about financial issues. Some counselors are prepared to help you immediately, while others will refer you to someone for debt management purposes.

Questions and matters that may be discussed include:

  • Is there property, such as vehicles or homes, which need to be sold?
  • Are any debts due to be repaid immediately, such as debts to bookies?
  • Will your credit card companies accept a smaller repayment than what is due?
  • Should you be seeking a second job to help repay debts and avoid free time previously spent gambling?
  • Are there titles and accounts that need to be transferred into the name of someone other than the problem gambler?

Every problem gambler’s debt situation is unique, and repayment plans must be customized based on the type of debts, amount of debt and income available to repay them. The best way to begin straightening out finances is to begin the process with complete honesty and professional guidance.

To find help for problem gambling or to help a recovery stay on track, contact the NYS HOPEline at 1-877-8-HOPENY.

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