Online Gambling Debts – How to Deal With the Causes and Effects of Online Gambling Debts

One thing there is no shortage of on the internet is opportunities to gamble. We are spoilt for choice, whether your fancy is for betting on sports, playing virtual card games or bingo. One of the things that makes internet gambling so potentially dangerous is that it is easily available for 24 hours a day. The real danger comes when you combine this factor with the fact that it is so easy to feel detached from the reality of money spent online. Gradually racking up a debt online does not feel the same as handing over hard earned cash from our wallet, so it is that much easier to lose track of how your online spending is mounting up.

For these reasons, debt problems from internet gambling are on the increase. In this article I hope to clarify some of the legal issues around online gambling, as well as providing some advice on dealing with the underlying problem and the debts that result from it.

Legal Issues Around Gambling Debts

When we talk about debt from online gambling it is important to be clear about the nature of the debt, because who the money is owed to does make a difference. People are often unsure about the legality of debts from online gambling. In the UK you can gamble legally on credit and incur a debt, but this debt is not then enforceable through the law.

However, there is an important point to make here, which is that this only applies when you are using credit extended by the company offering the gambling (casino, bookie, etc). If you use a credit card company to pay for internet gambling, that is a legally enforceable debt the same as it would be in any other circumstance, because you have borrowed money from the credit card company, not the casino. It is now against the law in the US to use a credit card to pay for online gambling.

You will find that many credit cards will regard a payment to an internet gambling website as a cash advance. This is then clearly borrowing money from the card company and the debt you incur can be pursued through legal action. If you do use a credit card to pay for online gambling this way, you should be aware that cash advances on credit cards are almost always charged at a much higher rate of interest than normal credit for purchases.

How To Deal With Debts Caused By Gambling

In dealing with gambling debts, there are two separate issues to tackle. One is the debt itself, and the other is the habit of gambling that led to the debt. Even if the debt is dealt with, it is likely to build up again if the root cause is not tackled too. Let us first consider the problem of paying off the debt.

The principles for tackling debt are nearly always the same, irrespective of the causes of the debt. To permanently deal with debt you should not be considering borrowing more money or paying anyone to deal with your debt for you. These courses of action are likely to deepen your debt in the long run.

With a little advice, you can deal with your debts yourself, by contacting your creditors and agreeing terms for repayment that you can afford. There is clearly more to it than that, but it is beyond the scope of this particular article. The process is straightforward and allows you to take back control of your finances.

Factors Leading To Internet Gambling Debts

It may help to have an understanding of why some people can become addicted to online gambling. The following are often contributory factors:

Gambling can be thrilling, leading to an adrenalin rush and feelings that we want to recreate time and again.

Many addictive gamblers think that they can win money and that this will solve all their other problems. It actually just leads to more problems by creating debt, which can then make it seem even more important to win the money, creating a vicious circle.

Addiction to gambling can actually be a mental disorder, which can lead to a compulsive need to gamble.

Being addicted to online gambling is often associated with other personal difficulties, including depression and stress.

Online Gambling Debts – The Warning Signs You may have a problem if you can answer yes to any of the following questions:

When you are not gambling, do you think about gambling and how you are going to get back to it?

Have you ever missed work because of online gambling?

Do you feel the need to gamble again after winning or losing?

Is the length of time you spend on gambling getting longer and have you ever spent longer online than you thought you had?

Are you secretive about your gambling with family or friends and do you dislike other people bringing it up?

Practical Steps To Tackle Online Gambling Addiction If you think you may have a problem with online gambling, here are a few simple steps you can take to begin to reduce or stop the habit:

Be open with friends and family and seek help with the problem.

Cancel any accounts you have with websites for online gambling.

Consider using software that blocks your access to online gambling websites.

Keep a proper, ongoing record of everything you spend – take steps to bring home the fact that the money you are using is real.

Offline and Online Casino Gambling

Gambling – offline as well as online casino gambling – has fast become a leisure activity attracting a growing number of people. Offline Casino gambling is often combined with travelling and vacations to Las Vegas, Atlantic City and quite a few other cities in the USA, with an increasing number of Indian Casinos included. Casino gambling is also a popular pursuit in Europa as well as most parts of the world. However, for some the access to casinos are limited or absent. The internet however, offers a lot of gambling and gaming opportunities for those.

In USA we can identify at least five groups of casinos or casino gaming establishments

Luxurious land based casinos
Cruise ship casinos
Indian Casinos
Riverboat casinos
Local card gaming clubs

The first city that comes to mind when we talk about luxurious casinos is Las Vegas. There has been legalized gambling in Nevada for decades but the real boom has developed over the recent years. The growth of casinos and hotels in Vegas can seem out of control. Due to the invasion from gambling and entertainment hungry people from all over the world, Las Vegas has become the fastest growing city in the United States.

Though family resorts, with theme parks and other attractions for the juniors have popped up like toad hats over the years, developers in Vegas now tend to prioritize more adult oriented establishments. The opening of the luxury Wynn casino in May 2005 is a good example of this trend. Las Vegas – with all it’s casino gambling jet set pomp and glitter – belongs to the adult generations.

The Indian casinos as well as the riverboat casinos and local gambling clubs are more sober alternatives to the luxury in Vegas. As the demand for gambling adventures are booming in all regions of the country, these kinds of casino establishments has grown equally.

The casino gambling alternative that most people find their way to is, internet casino gambling. The availability is outrageous and it is you who decide when to play and you can play from any location on the globe that has an internet connection.

If you are a newbie you can now train yourself to become an professional casino gambler from the comfort of your home. It’s good not to feel the pressure from other players when you are experimenting with different strategies and gaining your basic gaming skills. Your best teacher is your mistakes; do them peacefully from your home, without any critical I-know-best voices. Another reason for playing casino online is that you save money on a hotels, restaurants and airfares. It is also easier for disabled persons to access an online casino than an offline. Remember that an online casino is like a real casino – it has the same games; black jack, poker, roulette, baccarat, craps and others – the same excitement and you can win real money.

Just one final advice: The internet is overloaded with gambling and casino websites. Among such a big crowd of gambling offers, there has to be some bogus ones Stay away from those and keep to recommended online casino gambling websites. Good luck!

It’s a Gamble! Gambling – Great? Gruesome? Gambling – Essential, Addictive, Destructive

I’m used to thinking of gambling as horrible. Every day I hear stories of people destroying their lives, and the well-being of their families, because they can’t stop gambling. Everything goes. A woman speaks from her prison cell: she turned to robbing banks to pay for her addiction. She doesn’t excuse herself. But she couldn’t help herself. She wanted to be arrested. Despair.

I’ve been thinking about gambling differently this past while. Not “pure gambling” (lottery tickets, casinos, online gambling). But gambling as an essential feature of healthy, hopeful living that takes us beyond the routine.

My partner and I are building a business. Now, that’s a gamble – with our time, our lives. I’m also building this site – Elsa’s Creativity Emporium. Another huge gamble with time, energy, creativity. Columbus sailed for America. His gamble: that he would end up in the Far East. He didn’t get was he was aiming for – but the gamble paid off for the Europeans.

Farmers plant seeds. The gamble: that the season will be good. Designers design The gamble: that the design will find a market.

People fall in love, and decide to try to make a live with that person – one of the biggest gambles in life.

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On the other hand, many people want a predictable salary. No gambling, please. So and so much an hour. Anything else feels wrong, out of control, dangerous. How can anyone live like that, they shudder and recoil.

An observation. Many people don’t want to gamble with work time. They want steady dependable pay. At the same time, they have a hugely developed urge, even an overwhelming urge, to gamble.

In other words, quite a number of the same people who want a steady paycheck spend a huge chunk of their everyday earnings on gambling!

“It’s just for fun.” “It’s my right.” “I have every right to do what I want with my money. I earned it, after all. It’s mine.” “Everyone’s entitled to have a good time every now and then. All those hours I work. I deserve something.”

So, though many people are entirely unable to consider working “on a gamble,” (building a business, doing creative projects that may well never pay), they gamble over and over in ways that are set up to make the huge majority of people lose.

But most of the world does live “on a gamble” – or combining the gamble with as much certainty as possible. Traditional gatherer-hunting societies for instance have the relative dependability of gathering (which brings in about 90% of food) and the gamble on what is brought in through hunting (10% of the average food supply, according to my reading). Even with the gathering part, no year is like any other year. The steady dependable pay-off (salary, berries, etc.) is not the norm.

And with that, back to gambling. I’m going to call the kind of gambling I’m used to recoiling from “pure gambling” – in other words, one isn’t gambling that the weather will cooperate with one’s efforts, one isn’t trying to make a sale, one isn’t trying to build a site or a business, one isn’t courting and hoping another will respond to us. “Pure gambling” – bingo, casinos, lotteries, slot machines, computer games like minesweeper and so on. The goal is winning in a game stacked against us, and the win builds nothing except the win. No book is written, no grain is harvested, nothing is built.

In everyday gambling – which I’ll call “part-of-life gambling”, the pleasure of winning is part of so many other things. It’s part of building a life – gambling that our reaching out to someone will pay off, gambling that our design will find a market, gambling that the move to another city where there are supposed to be better jobs will lead to a better job.

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In “pure gambling,” all that other stuff has been taken out. The goal: the win. The goal: the payoff. In some forms of “pure gambling”, one does build some skills – one learns to play bingo well, to know the ins and outs of computer games. One becomes fast, the moves automatic. In other forms of pure gambling, people just, say, pull the arm of a one-armed bandit – and the craving to keep doing this that be so strong that people have resorted (or so I’ve heard) to wearing diapers so they don’t need to leave to go to the bathroom.

I’ve felt the pull of pure gambling, as well as part-of-life gambling. The time: about ten years ago. Too much stress. One day, I opened minesweeper, a computer game, and played a few games. The stress disappeared. I ended up playing minesweeper for several days, getting better and better. Wonderful and relaxing. At some point, I couldn’t get better at minesweeper. From that point on, winning or losing (most often losing), became a matter of luck. And yet I still wanted to play. Very much so.

I did what was easiest for me to do: I asked my partner to take the game off my computer (at the time I didn’t have the skill to know how to delete it myself). I don’t think, though, that I could have used the computer and not played. The pull felt irresistible. I felt deprived when the game was gone. I wanted it back. I didn’t ask for it back, though. I was able to have that much power over the pull of the game.

I did, for a number of years, turn to solitaire – not on the computer. Too dangerous. The old-fashioned way, with cards. If I played more than I thought was okay, I would put the cards in a place where it was inconvenient for me to get them – in a corner of the basement, for instance. Sometimes I would go and get them. More often I wouldn’t.

The last several years have been so busy that there hasn’t been time to reach for the cards. And I’ve noticed that the urge is gone. I want, if I have a few minutes, to take a walk, to make supper, to do nothing. I like life better that way.

I’ve been gambling enormously, these past few years, but the healthy way – doing things, hoping and planning that the projects will make it in the world.

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I’m back to gambling: the good, the bad, the ugly.

The good. This is when we take gambles in life, gambles that come from as much knowledge and experience as possible. Even then, it’s important that we check out the risks as well as possible – because in everyday life just as in a casino, one can gamble away one’s savings, one’s home, and so on. I took a gamble fifteen years ago: I had work (flight attendant) that was dependable but didn’t satisfy me. I was finishing my Ph.D. when the airline hit hard times and offered a golden handshake to people willing to leave. I didn’t have full-time college or university teaching lined up. Worse, there was hardly any teaching of any kind available where I lived. Still, I took a gamble. After all, I had an almost completed Ph.D. in hand, and had been doing university teaching part-time for years.

It wasn’t an instant win. But I finally got college teaching, and eventually even steady college teaching. And that again isn’t an instant fix, like a casino win. It means having to work at making the teaching successful, learning how to make the more difficult classes work (when one can), etc. There are ongoing challenges.

I think of Crick and Watson, who worked on figuring out the structure of DNA – and only after 10 years came to the realization (through a dream) that there was a double helix. They gambled with 10 years of their life.

I think of Banting, who figured out how diabetes can be controlled through insulin. So much time and effort, done despite the lack of success of others.

The dangerous good. I am thinking of people my parents knew. Not gamblers of any sort. They had built a financially successful life through steady paid-by-the-hour work. Then their 20-year-old son saw a “golden business opportunity”. A local successful business was for sale. The parents mortgaged their house to the max to buy it. In a year, the successful business was destroyed through a serious of stupid choices made by their inexperienced son who had all kinds of ideas for “improving” it. The parents lost everything.

The bad. Pure gambling, when it’s more than an occasional pleasure. My mother would buy an Irish Sweepstakes ticket at a time when gambling was illegal in Canada. She got a thrill out of doing something illegal. Also the ticket was a kind of miracle hope for an instant fix to all the everyday financial struggles. But it was a small cost.

For all too many people, the cost is high – financially, and in time and focus. Apparently over 15% of Canadian teenagers have at least a moderate addiction to what I call bad gambling.

Of course it can also give some kind of gratification to people leading small boring lives. Bingo halls enthrall thousands of people week after week.

The gruesome. This is when the pure gambling urge takes over someone’s life, and often destroys everything else in that life. Couple life, parenting, other interests.

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What to do? One, recognize the intense power of the “gambling pay-off pull.” There it is, the jackpot – like a carrot to a donkey. Not easy to resist.

Societies and countries which outlaw gambling – like both Canada and the States used to – recognize the destructive power of “the pay-off pull” central to pure gambling.

Personally, I find it insane to take away the laws that prohibit gambling without at least, at the same time, mandating huge public education – from earliest childhood on – on the destructive power of “the gambling pay-off pull.”

It’s like no longer ensuring that water is drinkable, but not doing anything so that people each take care of their own water supply. Can you imagine a huge campaign against providing drinkable water on the basis that this tampers with individual liberty? that each person has the right to drink the water of one’s choice?

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And yet to go back to good gambling. I will now call it “integrated gambling” – gambling as part of other activities. The same intense pay-off pull may help us through tough times. We practice and practice a difficult guitar piece – we know there will be a pay-off and the high of getting there (at least for a moment, before we move on to the next challenge). We put in long hours working with a child with learning difficulties – and we exult when learning happens. Pay-off.

Good gambling. I’d say that’s a core part of human development. It keeps us going – we’re not only doing whatever it is (trying to keep the corps alive in a hard season), but longing for the pay-off. And when it does happen, euphoria, a natural high. Yeah!!!

Good gambling combines with creativity. It helps us move out of ruts, into the unknown. Something in us knows this is a good direction. There is a pull from deep inside ourselves.

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As with so much about us, it’s easy to mess things up.

Gambling – well. Gambling combined with a project, a goal, an end that does not have to do with gambling, a goal in itself that usually leads to further development.

Gambling – bad. Gambling for the lure of the win, the pay-off – usually unrelated to the efforts we put in. (There was nothing my mother did, that would make her more likely to win the Irish Sweepstakes than what anyone else did – it was just luck. And she never won.)

Gambling – gruesome – when “pure gambling” has taken over someone’s life.

All it takes is a tiny change inside ourselves to go from the good to the bad to the gruesome – a disconnection of the pay-off pull from something constructive.

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I started with words from a song I wrote years ago, on a gamble Western society gives huge value to: love. Young people are expected to find a partner to live with, taking a huge gamble with their lives. I would call it a central healthy gamble. And again here, it’s been found that, time after time, learning is important. People who have been around healthy love relationships are way more likely to have the love gamble pay off.

I think we need to learn to gamble well – to do the right kind, and do it well.

I’ll end with lines from that song – when can be about the best of a good gamble:

Love is my kind of tangle

Love is my kind of gamble

I’ve got all that I can handle

Love

More of Love Gamble, Love Tangle

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Where to send you from here? You can click here for Creativity Pure and Applied. Creativity – another side of ourselves that can be pure (creativity for the sake of creativity) and applied (creativity in the service of something else). The dynamics are decidedly different than with gambling!

My writing, by the way, is a gamble. I’m gambling that it’s worth it – to me and to you.

Comments welcome.

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How To Think – Helpful Tip Number One – Ask Yourself This One Question.
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Elsa, age 7, Takes on God – Elsa Knows God is Wrong (the one she read about, anyway).
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Stupid Opinion Number One – The Opinion That We Are Where We Are Meant To Be.
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Don’t Keep it Simple, Stupid – We’re Not All Mental Vegetables.
The Rage of the “Righteous”.

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