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.