Gambling is a common pastime within the UK. According to research conducted by betting website ‘Beating Betting’, £38.7% of online bettors bet £10-£100 per month and 20.9% say they have lost ‘hundreds’ through gambling.
Falling into this type of debt can often happen without you even realising. Excessive gambling seems to be becoming part of everyday life, especially when it comes to sports.
It was found by the BBC that 95% of ad breaks during live UK football matches featured adverts for betting firms. These adverts can usually only be shown after the nine pm water-shed, to avoid showing them children, but live sports broadcasts are an exception to the rule. With this barrage of promotion, it is unsurprising that gambling continues to pose a problem.
There have been rules implemented by Sky to prevent this, restricting gambling adverts to a maximum of one per commercial break – including during live football. They are also developing AdSmart technology to enable people to block gambling advertising when watching on Sky and Virgin Media.
How can gambling debt affect my life?
Struggling with problem gambling will be a different experience for everyone, but there are a number of ways it can affect a person’s life.
- Personal Finances
Understandably, those who struggle with compulsive gambling are likely to experience financial difficulties. This could be anything from having to cut back on buying things you don’t need to being left without money for your priority bills.
In many cases, problem gambling can lead to problem debt. People tend to fund their habit with overdrafts, credit cards, or payday loans and they might even be tempted to gamble more in an effort to pay off these debts. This can lead to a vicious cycle that may leave you with worse money struggles than before.
- Mental Health
Being in debt alone is enough to affect someone’s mental health, but research has shown that problem gambling can lead to anxiety, low self-esteem, depression and even insomnia. Gambling, like any addiction, can also cause people to lose interest in things they previously enjoyed, which can push them to spend even more time gambling.
These days, mental health problems are becoming as common as a cold, and many who are already suffering will use gambling as a distraction. However, this often makes the problem worse rather than better.
The money problems that gambling can cause more often than not lead to arguments between partners, which may stop them from talking about the problem. The obsessive need to gamble can also lead to people spending more time gambling, and less time with friends, family, or their partner.
It can also have an effect on a person’s work relationships and, in turn, their career. As problem gambling can cause anxiety and loss of concentration, this can lead to people not doing as much work as they should, meaning their job could end up being at risk.
What are the warning signs of problem gambling?
If you feel you have a problem with gambling, the below points are likely to be a part of your everyday life:
- Regularly spending more than you had planned on gambling
- Spending on gambling instead of your important bills such as rent or utilities
- Using gambling as a distraction from other thing going on in your life
- Having feelings of guilt or shame about your gambling habits
- Using things such as an overdraft, credit card, or payday loan to fund your gambling
- Trying to pay off your debts through gambling
- Noticing a change in the state of your mental health
Signs of problem gambling in friends, family, or partners can be easy to miss, but you know or think someone has a problem with gambling, some of the following signs may be familiar to you:
- Going to fewer events with friends and family
- Hiding things about their money (if talking about them is normal)
- Having a lot of loans or credit cards
- Having unpaid bills
- Seeming worried or angry without a clear reason
- Not doing well at work
- A lack of food or other basic items in their home
If you are still unsure whether you or someone you know is struggling with this type of debt, the gambling charity Gamcare has a helpful self-assessment test which can show whether you might need some help to get your gambling under control.
How to keep on top of gambling habits
Problem gambling can be draining, and everyone will deal with it differently. Below are some steps you can take if you think you may be struggling to keep your gambling under control.
- Make small personal changes – Look for any patterns in your habits and try to change things in your life to help break this. For example, you might be able to avoid places which tempt you to gamble.
- Practice Self-exclusion – Betting shops should allow customers to exclude themselves. This means that staff will refuse to serve you, which will help to prevent you from gambling. This is also available on most gambling websites.
- Open up – Simply getting things off your chest with a friend or family member that you trust can help you to feel driven to deal with the problem.
- Speak to a Expert – You can get free advice through helplines such as the one provided by Gamcare. Some companies also provide counselling to help you find out why you gamble and ways to break your habits.
- Find a Support Network – Help groups such as Gamblers Anonymous can provide a mutually supportive environment in which to discuss issues, and find friendly advice about the steps you can take to overcome them.
- Get Help to clear your Gambling Debts –Writing off debts accrued by gambling can be a great motivator to keep such problems in the past. You may be able to do this by entering into a debt solution such as an IVA or Trust Deed. However, you will need to prove that you are resolving your gambling problem before entering into any of these agreements.
Gambling debt can have a huge impact on your life, but here at Creditfix our friendly experts are not here to judge. We will help you to find the right solution, no matter the cause of your debt.
Contact us today for free, quick and easy debt advice; you can contact us by phone on the number above, complete the form on this page or click the icon to speak to one of our advisers right now.
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