As Kenny Rogers once sang, “You’ve got to know when to hold ’em
Know when to fold ’em

Another saying in gambling you always need to keep in mind is “the house always wins”.

So why do people gamble?

For some it is entertainment, it is fun to play some of the games. For others it can be an addiction, and a very strong addiction.

Gambling is one of the strongest addictions a person could have, and this is due to something called, intermittent reinforcement.

Reinforcement in psychology terms is when you receive a reward for completing a task. Every time you complete the task, you get a reward, which may be something you like to eat, or do, or in the case of gambling, you win.

Intermittent reinforcement is when you receive the reward at irregular intervals, to put this in the context of gambling, you only receive the reward when you win, not every time you gamble or play.

A slot or fruit machine is a perfect example. You never know when you will win, when the machine will pay out, so you keep playing, you keep chasing the win.

In the end, you can spend a lot of money chasing the win…and not win back what you have spent.

How Do Gamblers Fund Their Gambling?

Ideally someone who gambles would just spend any surplus income or money they have after paying all their bills. It would be like an entertainment fund, if you don’t have the money to go out for a meal, take a holiday, see a film, etc, you don’t gamble either.

You just use the available cash you have to gamble, when that cash and any winnings runs out, you stop gambling.

If it was only that easy.

If someone has a gambling addiction they may gamble and spend more than they can afford, which means they may gamble away money that was to be spend on rent, a mortgage, other bills, then find themselves in arrears with these accounts.

Then there is the use of credit to gamble. Taking out loans, using credit cards, borrowing money from friends and family.

When this occurs, the person gambling can find themselves in debt.

Gambling and Debt

Just as mentioned, someone who gambles can find themselves in debt due to losing, and also funding those losses with credit.

They may take out cash advances against their credit cards, use their credit cards online to gamble, and also take out loans that they use to gamble.

A lender is not going to grant a loan with the sole purpose of being use to gamble, so the gambler needs to state the loan is for some other purpose, then use the loan to gamble.

How Do I Get Out of Gambling Debt?

Getting out of debt from gambling is the same as any other option to get out of debt. This is due to the fact in most instances the debt(s) are in the form of credit cards, overdrafts, loans, and what seems to be mainstream credit.

It is just that the money borrowed was used to fund gambling.

You can include the debts in a Debt Management Plan, DRO/Debt Relief Order, IVA/Individual Voluntary Arrangement, and even in Bankruptcy.

The issue is, if you use a form of insolvency that involves the courts, such as Bankruptcy, DRO, or an IVA, you could have some restrictions placed against you. These restrictions could include an IVA being rejected, or modified, and in Bankruptcy you could have a restriction order placed keeping you under the restrictions of Bankruptcy longer than the usual 12 months.

One option is to place the debts in a Debt Management Plan for a year or so, then look at a more formal insolvency option. But you also must stop gambling, and show you are seeking help.


The first step in getting help for gambling, especially if you are in debt and looking at some form of debt management is self-exclusion. This is where you register yourself and pick a time frame you wish to stop gambling, and you will be restricted from online and mobile gaming/gambling platforms.

If you have open and unused credit, such as credit cards, you can also ask the credit card company to restrict any credit charges from gaming facilities.

GA/Gamblers Anonymous

In addition to self-exclusion, you also need to seek support through GA/Gamblers Anonymous.

This is important and you will want to show you are seeking the support and help with the addiction if you wish to discharge the debts in a formal insolvency.

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