Tuesday September 16th 2014

Does online gambling affect credit rating?

Q: What does your credit score and online compulsive gambling have in common?

A: Both are largely dependent on your ability to borrow money.

Can you gamble away your credit score?

You betcha. Even if you have the financial means to fund your online gambling habit, more times than not, you are using some sort of electronic funding option that is credit score dependent, such as a bank’s credit card. But the long term consequences of a poor credit score are staggering, even if you are not addicted to online gambling. More here on how online gambling can affect your credit rating. And a section for questions about credit and online gambling at the end.

Gambling away your credit score

Like it or not, an individual’s credit score is not an indicator of wealth or financial security, it only indicates whether or not you are good at borrowing money, and paying it back. But the lingering effects of bad credit may last longer and affect more life changing decisions than a compulsive gambling addiction. So who is at risk of ruining credit? And what can you do about online gambling problems? We explore here.

What is credit rating?

Simply put, not paying your credit cards bills on time will drastically lessen your credit score. And once your credit score is damaged, the fix is not simple.  The most obvious effect of bad credit is the lost ability to qualify for any type of major purchase, or additional credit including an automobile, rental apartment or a home. Another effect often overlooked, about half of employers are pulling credit information to consider individuals for employment. This includes employer’s in the private sector, public sector and even military. The most shocking part of this scenario, is this is happening to individuals in their 20’s, or even younger.

How gambling affects your credit score

Often compulsive gamblers can open numerous credit card accounts. This action in and of itself will lower your overall credit score. Then, you can get into the cycle of using one credit card to pay off the debts of other credit cards. Generally, each subsequent credit card balance transfer is tied to a higher interest rate, increasing financial burden.

And what’s more is that compulsive gamblers commonly lie, cheat or steal to continue fueling their gambling addiction and feeding the credit cycle. This cycle is not easily broken, and often times ends up in bankruptcy. Additionally, there is typically a lag between the time problem gamblers begin an actual financial meltdown, and the time when credit score actually takes a hit. This lag gives gamblers the opportunity to continue borrowing money and get even deeper in debt.

High risk online gamblers

Why do gamblers gamble? Either for recreation and entertainment, or to avoid and cope with the emotional or psychological stresses of life.  But who is particularly at risk of ruining a good credit score?

1. Young online gamblers – Unfortunately, younger gamblers (those ranging from 18 years of age to 25 years of age) almost exclusively use credit cards to fund their online gambling expenditures. Seemingly harmless at first, the act of funding your gambling habits using a credit card can lead to devastating results.

2. Compulsive/Problem gamblers – The danger of credit card funding of gambling is most frightening for those who are either at risk problem gamblers or who exhibit symptoms of compulsive gambling. “Compulsive gambling”, or “pathological gambling”, as psychiatrists label the behavior, is defined as an inability to stop gambling. When you combine an inability to control ones actions, with the immediate access to thousands of dollars, the results are often disastrous.

How to stop online gambling

The best thing for gamblers who are driving down the road of bad credit from a gambling addiction, is to seek help. However, due to the nature of addictive disorders, it may take many years for a gam0lber to realize they have a problem and even longer for individuals to take the proactive steps to take control of their problem. In fact, the point of realization normally occurs when a compulsive gambler can neither fund their gambling nor make payments on the debts owed. But help is out there. Cognitive behavioral therapies can help gamblers manage compulsive thinking in combination with lifestyle changes and support groups.  You can also block online gambling sites to self monitor your use.  Or you can seek professional help with a counselor who specializes in treatment compulsive gambling.

Online gambling and credit questions

Do you have questions about your credit while gambling online? Please ask here. We try to answer all legitimate questions with a personal and prompt response.

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7 Responses to “Does online gambling affect credit rating?
Sheriden
1:48 pm February 23rd, 2013

Hi there. I have just got off the phone to a freind who has found that their brother who is in their 20′s has been using their name and address in setting up on line betting accounts. They have also used a bank account that hasnt been used for a while. My friend allowed this a while ago thinking that they were using it to save up money for a family holiday.
It appears therefore that there has been a number of accounts in their name and a bank account linked to this. This is clearly illegal and they will broach this with their brother and get it stopped immediately, however, will this effect future credit ratings since they do not want to report their brother and get them into trouble with the authorities. In the next couple of years my friend would like a mortage – will this be effected?

Look forward to your response

2:38 pm February 25th, 2013

Hello Sheriden,

Yes, if their personal account has been in debit, or is low in balance, a creditor will have access to this information. Whether or not they will be given a mortgage will be determined by annual salary requirements, savings, collateral, etc. You can learn more by calling a mortgage company and presenting the case to an agent.

Gemma
11:08 am May 26th, 2014

Hello I was wondering how long it takes if I have shut down all online betting accounts to clear on my credit rating?

Johnny
1:31 am May 27th, 2014

Hello,
Unfortunately I started gambling online and lost quite a bit of money like $1000 but I was using my debit card, will this effect my credit score?

7:23 am May 27th, 2014

HI Johnny. While creditors who manage your account can track where you’re spending money (ex. the bank where you’ve deposited your money) … I’m not quite clear about WHAT they can do with this information, or whether or not they can share it. Did you have money in your account? Or did you need a line of credit to cover the costs?

johnny
9:13 pm May 27th, 2014

I had money in my account, I didn’t use a line of credit to cover it

9:36 am May 28th, 2014

To be sure, get in touch with the financial institution with whom you do business. And get an updated annual (free) account of your credit rating (Google: free credit report).

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About Problem Poker

This article is brought to you via the Problem Poker Outreach Initiative, which block gambling sites free for a limited time. The author Kevin Jones is the Director of Marketing of Problem Products, Inc., the owner and distributor of Problem Poker's gambling website blocking software, and welcomes feedback and questions about blocking gambling websites.