Gambling Debt


Gambling is a popular pastime in the UK, however, more often than not gambling and debt come together.

While putting on a football accumulator at the weekend or having a flutter on the horses may be a bit of fun for some, for others it can become a downward spiral into financial difficulties.

How does gambling affect my debt?

If you borrow money to gamble, your debts can increase, and you may continue gambling in an attempt to keep on top of your increasing debts.

What is gambling debt?

Gambling debt is money owed as a result of gambling activity.

You can owe the money to betting firms, creditors such as credit card companies, or even family and friends.

It’s no secret that gambling problems and debt often come hand in hand. Compulsive gamblers often find themselves borrowing more money to pay for their habit, while struggling to manage already increasing debts can lead to more gambling.

It’s a vicious cycle known only too well by 245,000 problem gamblers in England, according to the Gambling Commission.

In 2021 the British gambling industry was worth £14.2 billion, with research by Beating Betting revealing 38.7% of online bettors bet £10–£100 per month and 20.9% saying they have lost ‘hundreds’ through gambling.

According to gambling charity GamCare, a financial crisis is often what brings a person to address their gambling.

Gambling debts can lead to serious financial consequences but the reality is it often isn’t until a trigger such as enforcement action or a court summons that a person with a gambling problem will begin to seek support.

What are the warning signs of gambling addiction?

Knowing the signs of problem gambling is the first step in either finding help for yourself or help for friends and family.

From spending more than you plan on gambling to win back what you’ve lost to using loans and credit cards to cover the cost of gambling, these are warning signs that you’re becoming a compulsive gambler.

Additional signs that your gambling habit has gotten out of control include:

  • Using gambling as a distraction from other things going on in your life
  • Feeling guilty or ashamed of your gambling habits
  • Trying to repay debts using gambling
  • Noticing a serious impact on your mental health

Sometimes it can be difficult for family and friends to spot the signs of gambling addiction. Many gamblers try hard to appear in control of their habit and finances despite really living with money worries.

While compulsive gambling may not always be obvious, there are key signs to look out for that could unveil a friend or loved one as a gambling addict.

Waning signs include:

  • Debt problems / unpaid bills
  • Relying on payday loans, personal loans or credit cards for daily purchases
  • Having a number of credit cards
  • Lack of essentials at home such as food
  • Hiding their money
  • Less socialising with family and friends
  • Noticeable mental health issues (e.g being short-tempered or worried for no obvious reason)

If you’re worried about your own personal circumstances or are worried about a partner’s gambling, it’s important to make use of gambling helplines and support groups such as Gamblers Anonymous. . Gambling charity GamCare has a useful tool that highlights the help available.

Can gambling debt affect my credit rating?

Like all debt there is a possibility that gambling debt could affect your credit rating.

If you’re gambling with money that you know you can afford to lose then this should be an issue. Most gambling websites allow you to set a spending limit based on your income and expenditure.

However, if when you start chasing loses that’s when you can become a problem gambler.

If gambling causes you to miss bill payments or default on any credit card or loan payments it could damage your credit rating.

In 2020 the UK banned the use of gambling using credit cards but that doesn’t mean you can’t turn to other types of borrowed money to gamble.

Taking out a payday loan, a personal loan or even dipping into your overdraft is not only risky, it can have an impact on your rating too.

Casino credit can also impact your rating if you don’t have the money to repay what you owe or if you apply to a lot of casinos for credit in a short period of time.

Taking casino credit can also hurt your credit score if you don’t have the funds to pay it back – or if you apply for casino credit from a lot of casinos in a short period of time.

How we helped Paige

It was literally the best decision of my life, and it has actually changed my life, cheesy as that sounds, it has changed my life.

Paige , IVA Customer

How can gambling debt affect my daily life?

Gambling debt doesn’t just impact your bank balance.

Personal finances understandably are negatively affected but problem gambling can have serious consequences on daily life as well.


A gambling addiction doesn’t just affect one person. It can impact personal relationships as well as a person’s work relationships.

The debt accrued through gambling can lead to arguments between friends and families, making it harder to address the issue. Compulsive gamblers can also isolate themselves from their loved ones as they continue to get their fix – whether that’s in betting shops or through online gambling companies.

It can also affect working relationships too. It’s no secret that problem gambling can lead to a loss of concentration, anxiety which can in turn have an impact in the workplace and put jobs at risk.

Mental health

Living with money worries can affect anyone’s mental wellbeing but gambling addiction more than others.

Gambling addiction can cause people to lose interest in things they previously enjoyed and force them to isolate away from those who care. In turn this can lead to anxiety, low self-esteem and depression.

Some living with gambling addictions choose betting as a way to boost a low mood but this often makes the problem worse.

Personal finances

People who have a gambling problem are likely to experience financial hardship.

As gamblers continue to make up for losses they often find themselves forced to cut back on essentials to continue to feed their habit.

Many regularly spending on gambling will choose to prioritise their need to win over priority bills and his can lead to serious problems.

People living with gambling debt typically turn to overdrafts, their savings and personal loans to continue, leaving household bills and other debts accrued unpaid.

It can be hard to break this pattern but failure to do so can lead to the person continuing to experience financial difficulties.

Gambling debt doesn’t just impact your bank balance.


What debt advice is available for gambling debt?

If you owe money to gambling debts or are worried about someone who you think has bad gambling habits, you should seek professional advice as soon as possible.

You may think it’s easy to just stop gambling but it’s not always as easy as you think. So the first thing to do is to speak with support groups that can help in a mutually supportive environment.

When to comes to dealing with gambling debt or any problem debt, talk to Your Debt Expert. Our team offer easy debt advice tailored to your situation. They’ll work with you to find a debt solution that suits your needs. Call today on 0800 082 8086.

Where can I get more advice on Gambling Debt and other debt solutions?

To discuss your options and get the support you need to deal with your debt today, contact us now on 0800 082 8086 or click the button below to get started.