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What To Do About Gambling Debt
Gambling debt is like any other debt, with one big difference. That is, that there is a big temptation to try to get out of debt using the same method that got you in there in the first place, that is by gambling.
Take a person who runs up store card debts buying clothes and furniture. It is obvious that their first step in getting out of debt is to stop doing that. There is no way that buying more clothes and furniture is going to solve their debt problem.
But a gambler sees things differently. A person who has lost a lot of money on horses or in casinos is very likely to think that they can get their money back by gambling more. They believe in the big win. They believe the next one will be the jackpot.
A small time gambler who buys a couple of lotto tickets every week is the obvious example. Now and then they have a little win, but over time, they are steadily losing money. They know this. But they believe in the dream.
It is also partly psychological. People do not like to feel stupid, or that somebody has made a fool of them, or that they have wasted their money. The only way that they can justify all that money that has been poured down the drain -- the casino and the lottery drain -- is to go on believing that if they keep gambling, sooner or later they will have the big win that will have made it all worthwhile.
Some people who gamble even do it because they want to buy that dream. 'If you're not in, you can't win' -- and without a ticket, you can't dream your way out of your mundane existence.
But we all know in our hearts that it doesn't make sense. Almost all small time gamblers lose money; almost all big time gamblers are crippled and broken by debt. The only winners are the casinos and the bet takers ... and a very small number of instant millionaire jackpot winners who are used by the establishment to keep the dream alive for everybody else.
So the first thing to do in getting out of gambling debts is to give up the dream. Accept that you are not going to profit from gambling. Understand that even if you did win something next time, you would always lose it in an attempt to win more. As long as you believe that you can profit from gambling, you will never stop.
Read books on the statistics of gambling, if that helps. Analyze casino games to understand that nobody can beat the casino in the long term. Ask yourself how many lotto winners are happier after their win. You will find that most of them are miserable - suffering from depression, divorce, drugs or drink, unable to manage their unexpected riches, soon poorer than ever and with their self esteem gone too.
Then, stop gambling in all forms. This may mean asking to have yourself banned and canceling your accounts. It also means not betting with your friends on the outcome of the match at the weekend and not buying another lottery ticket.
If you can do that, you will be able to get out of debt. You will never do it if you go on gambling. Stop thinking that one more bet will solve all your problems -- it will not. There is only one way out of gambling debt, and it is not the way you came in.
As an Authorised Financial Adviser in Christchurch Lyn Bell has passed the requirements of the Financial Markets Authority and is legally qualified to provide financial services to her clients throughout New Zealand.
A disclosure statement is available free on request