Dealing With Gambling Debt: What Are My Options?
Gambling can be a harmless bit of fun or a serious and devastating addition. For some people who have gambling problems, serious debts can be financially crippling. If you have been going to casinos, or playing lotteries or any other games and have debts, you may worry how you will handle paying off what you owe.
The Most Important First Step: Treating Problem GamblingÂ
Before you take any other steps for dealing with debt, you need to treat the underlying addiction. If you have been gambling to the point where you have debt, thereâ€™s a problem. If there werenâ€™t, you wouldnâ€™t have borrowed money to play.
Trying to pay off your debt without handling the addiction is a problem for a few reasons:
- If you donâ€™t treat the underlying problem, you might get deeper into debt.
- A gambling problem could affect your work, which could make it harder to pay back debt.
Where can you get help for problem gaming? You can contact your doctor for a referral. The Delaware Council on Gambling Problems, Inc. also has resources, including a 24/7 hotline.
The Next Step: Cut off Funding
Once you tackle your problem gambling, youâ€™ll want to freeze any sources of funding. Talk to your family and friends so they donâ€™t lend you money. Seriously consider putting a freeze on your credit reports. You can do that by calling the credit bureaus. With a credit freeze, itâ€™s harder to apply for loans and credit cards, which makes it harder to find money for gaming.
Trying to Pay off Your Debt
Once you have taken steps to address the underlying problems, and youâ€™ve reduced the chances youâ€™ll rack up more debt, itâ€™s time to take a look at what you owe. Write down a list of what you owe and who needs to be paid back.
If you decide to try paying off your debt, there are a few things you can do:
- Â Tackle one debt at a time.
If you have someone threatening you because of your debts, pay that person back first. Otherwise, tackle the most expensive debt first, since thatâ€™s where youâ€™re paying the most in interest. The idea is to work your way down the list until all debts are paid.
- Sell some of your assets.
Sell electronics, jewelry, and anything else you have of value and put the money towards your debts.
- Take a second job.
You will probably need to find ways to generate more money to pay off your debt, especially if you owe a lot. Working on weekends, taking extra shifts or doing freelance work can help.
- Work with your creditors.
Your creditors â€” including your credit card companies â€” might be willing to make a payment arrangement with you or give you more time to pay off your debts.
- Cut back on expenses.
Spend money you only absolutely have to and put everything else towards your debts.
If your debts are too big, and you canâ€™t come up with enough money to pay everyone back, you might have to declare bankruptcy. Bankruptcy might discharge many or all of your gambling-related debts, but there is a chance that creditors will challenge you. Work with an experienced attorney who can guide you through the process.