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Gambling and Debts

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Gambling and Debts

How many times have you listened to someone who claims to have a system to beat the house? Or that they have discovered a flaw in the game which they can exploit?

Every gambler believes that their luck has to turn at some point and that statistically they should win, and probability dictates that 10 reds in roulette will never happen.

How many gamblers actually walk away winning? They might win today but tomorrow they will be back to gamble again and over a long enough period a majority of gamblers will lose.

Sure, there are instances of gamblers winning consistently but these people are the exception rather than the rule and should never be taken as examples by anyone.

Gambling over the last 20 years has gone from the high street to our living rooms. It is so easy now to place a bet via the numerous on-line betting sites that you could quickly find yourself in debt in just a few clicks of the mouse.

Some people get into all sorts of financial trouble when they get themselves involved in gambling, some even go as far to take out credit, by maxing out their credit cards, then sell their possessions, mortgage the house and ultimately lose everything just to place that next bet.

Casinos, betting websites, bookies whatever they call themselves are a business with the sole intention of taking money out of people’s pockets and placing it into theirs. They simply care about profits not the trail of destruction they leave in their wake.

Sure, we see the adverts on the telly with notices warning viewers and any potential punters that they ought to “stop when the fun stops” these are of course empty words which do nothing to prevent people from getting themselves into an awful lot of trouble.

There are many videos on YouTube of people who are brave enough to admit that they have a problem and how they are facing their gambling addiction and it is an addiction just like being addicted to smoking, drinking, drugs it is no less damaging and all encompassing.

Recently on TV, ITV had a programme called “Cleaning Up”.

I watched a video on YouTube of a man living in Las Vegas who would spend ever penny he had on the slot machines. He would forgo food, petrol, anything which had been important in his life he had fed into the slots of the “fruit machines”.

He knew he had a problem, understood he had a problem, but could not walk away because he felt as though the big win was due and all he had to do was push the button one more time.

Let’s discuss funding. How do gamblers fund their gaming habit.

Cash or Credit

If you are gambling on-line all you need is either a credit card or debit card. There are a few sites who will also take other forms of payment. For instance, there are sites which now accept crypto currencies.

Using your credit card to fund gambling is a real issue. You are now gambling with money that is not your own. The temptation to use up all your credit limit is great, and this is one sure way to get yourself into a mountain of debt.

The best way to prevent this from happening is to cancel all your credit cards or speak to the credit card company to put a block on any payments being made to gambling sites. There is no shame in asking for help before you end up on the streets.

Psychology of Gambling

So why do people gamble? There are many reasons to explain people behaviour. Like the person in the YouTube video, gamblers are waiting for the “big win”. The win which will turn everything around and they are set for life.

This win will never come, but they are caught up what is called the gambler’s fallacy, or the more impressive term fallacy of the maturity of chances. Gambler’s Fallacy is the mistaken belief that if something happened more frequently now it is less likely to happen in the future.

Take a roulette wheel for example, if the ball lands on red 10 times in a row what is the probability of it landing on red for the 11th time? Well, it is the same as it is landing on black.

The roulette wheel is a free system in which the result of the next spin is not dependent on the result of the previous spin or spins.

Each spin is independent and is a random process, but gamblers have convinced themselves that there are patterns in the game which they can exploit for their own gain.

One of the most famous examples of the gambler’s fallacy took place during a game of roulette at the Monte Carlo Casino on August 18, 1913.

This event was to lose gamblers millions of francs when the ball landed on black 26 times in a row, the probability of this occurring is 1 in 66.6 million, this is assuming the mechanism is unbiased meaning that the wheel did not have any flaws to favour the ball landing in a certain part of the wheel.

Gamblers started to bet on red believing that the long streak of blacks would be followed by a long streak of reds.

This Wikipedia page details gamblers fallacy in full

You may have heard the expression, “The house always wins”, this is true since the house always has an edge, even if that edge is on 0.5%. In the long run the house will take back everything you won from them and then proceed take everything else from you too without any emotion.

Remember that Las Vegas was not built on losing.

Gamblers also chase their losses using systems little the “Martingale”. This system works in the following why. The gambler doubles the bet each time they lose. This is probably the worse system in the world since the losses can mount up very quickly. For example, say you place a bet of £1 and lose, your next bet will be £2, then £4, £8, £16, £32

By the time you get to 8 losses in a row you are putting down £256 (plus all the previous losses) just to win back £1, does not make sense, but that’s gamblers fallacy at work.

Logically the “Martingale system” you will always win provided:

  1. You have infinite amount of money
  2. There is no house limit on the amount you can bet

Another term which explains part of what makes gamblers continue is called intermittent reinforcement. This is were you are rewarded for doing something. Like going to work and getting paid or putting up the shelves and being praised by the other half.

When we are rewarded for our actions, we get a little hit of a lovely chemical called dopamine.

Your brain registers all pleasures in the exact same way. It does not matter where the pleasure comes from, if it is from a psychoactive drug, a sexual encounter, a satisfying meal or a monetary reward.

For the brain pleasure has a very particular signature in the form of the neurotransmitter dopamine that is released underneath the cerebral cortex in a place called the nucleus accumbens that is consistently tied with pleasure that neuroscientists refer to the region as the brain’s pleasure center. All drugs, from nicotine to heroin, will cause a powerful surge of dopamine in the nucleus accumbens. When a gambler wins, they will get a “hit” of dopamine that rewards the activity, continue the actively will continue the dopamine which will lead to addiction.

As the gambler continues to gamble, they will start to build up a tolerance to dopamine and will need to continue to gamble more to have the same feelings of pleasure.

When gamblers try to quit, or they go days without gambling they will experience withdrawal symptoms just like someone who is addicted to drugs.

So, you can see why it can be difficult to quit gambling since we are now dealing with a neurological addiction.

The best way to stop gambling is to just stop. Although it is easier said than done.

Funding a Gambling Addiction

Gamblers when in the depths of their addiction will use whatever means they can to obtain funds short of committing crimes. If they have to take out credit to fund their habit they will.

Using the credit card to gamble is nothing new and the government has urged the gambling companies to step in and stop people from using credit cards.

The response from the gambling companies was predictable saying that they would “look into it”

It is not in the interest of any gambling company to stop people from gambling. No amount of bad press will stop someone from placing the next bet since each gambler will be thinking that losing is what happens to other people, and that they are there to win.

Only direct and forceful action by our government will cause the gambling companies to act responsibly by revoking their licenses at the first infringement of the rules.

Unfortunately, we have had over the many years a series of inherently weak governments coupled with a lethargic civil service here in the UK so therefore limiting their rapacity that it will never happen.

The only way in which gambling companies will step into to help identify and assist compulsive gamblers is through government legislation


One way in which gamblers can start to deal with their addiction is to put into place obstacles which will prevent them from getting on-line.

  1. Cut up credit cards, but all balances will still need to be paid off.
  2. Log into on-line accounts and close them.
  3. If accounts cannot be closed change the passwords to something random.
  4. If the on-line gambling sites have the ability to place self-imposed lockouts then do that too
  5. Speak to the bank to stop any payments being made to gambling sites.
  6. Download browser extensions that allow can block access to certain sites
  7. Log into the internet router at home and block access to all gambling sites.

To stop you must take positive action. Remove the ease which you can gain access to these gambling sites has been one of the key reasons that more people are getting conned into opening gambling accounts.

Another tip, down grade your smart phone to an old-fashioned mobile handset which does not have access to all the gambling apps.

It is odd that some banks and credit card companies do have rules, and can and do ban the purchase of some items using your credit card, however, gambling is not one of them.

Gambling and Insolvency

No matter how careful you think you are being with your gambling at some point you will get draw into it more and more as you discover new games and new possibilities of “winning” money.

Gambling companies will always send you offers to tempt you to spin the wheel just one more time. Or they will give you free bets if you wager a certain amount.

All these tactics are used to lure you into giving them your money, and that is exactly what you are doing. You are handing over your money for dopamine. In essence gambling companies deal in drugs by the way of “entertainment”.

Since the house always wins in the long term it is logically inevitable that if you gamble long enough you will lose everything and end up becoming insolvent, which can lead to becoming bankrupt.

For addicts of any addiction, many have to hit the bottom before they can climb back up.

As stated before, a quick search on YouTube will turn up loads of videos of people telling their stories of how gambling ruined their lives. They make for sobering viewing.

If you have finally seen the light and are on your road to Damascus, you still have to face the possibility of a mountain of debt you have to pay off before you can completely close the book on gambling. So, what are the options for paying off your debts?

You could look into the following:

  1. Repay the debts using a debt management plan
  2. Repay the debts using a consolidation loan
  3. Take out an IVA/Individual Voluntary Arrangement
  4. DRO/Debt Relief Order
  5. File for Bankruptcy.

If you need assistance with a gambling issue then there are charities and organisations who offer help and support, Gamblers Anonymous is one of them.

Debt management agencies are regulated by The Financial Conduct Authority

Many people in the U.K struggle with debts and many do not know how to start to repay them speaking to a debt advisor is one of the best things you will do along with taking action yourself by speaking directly with your creditors. and

You should always seek professional advice when handling debt problems. Cashute are not licensed debt advisers and any information contained in this article should not be taken as legal advice. It is your Responsibility to seek out correct legal advice

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