Gambling Debts and Protected Trust Deeds

22nd September 2016

There’s been an explosion in gambling activity around the UK. For many people it’s a harmless hobby, but for some gambling can quickly result in serious debt problems.

A common misconception exists that gambling debts are somehow different to other types of debt. People often fear that the way they’ve built up their credit card or overdraft balances will prevent them from using conventional tools to recover financially.

Thankfully, this isn’t the case. It’s increasingly common for people who’ve got into financial difficulty (partly or even wholly as a result of gambling) to tackle their debts via Scottish trust deeds, debt arrangement schemes, or voluntary bankruptcy.

Addressing the Gambling Problem

Entering into most types of debt solution is very likely to be pointless unless you’ve already stopped gambling. Compromise agreements with creditors (like protected trust deeds) are based upon you paying what you can reasonably afford towards your debts. If you’re still gambling to any great extent, the chances are that your repayment agreement will quickly become unaffordable and fail.

Insolvency practitioners (who handle trust deeds) might therefore require you to demonstrate that you’re no longer gambling. This might be accomplished by providing your recent bank statements (clear of transactions with bookmakers) to them. They don’t want to put you into a legal agreement with your creditors which is doomed to be unsuccessful.

If you’re finding it difficult to stop gambling, there are organisations that can assist you. Gamcare is a great source of information. They can also signpost you towards further sources of support that you might need.

Getting Debt Advice

Even if you’re finding it tricky to stop gambling altogether, don’t delay reaching out for debt advice. The sooner you get advice, the sooner you’ll have some real reassurance that your financial problems can be resolved.

Realising that a debt problem can be fixed often leads to a huge reduction in stress and anxiety levels. For some people, the knock-on effect of this will be to make addressing other issues in their lives much easier and less daunting.

If you’d like to have a chat with one of our qualified debt advisers, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

A Cautionary Note

Debt problems related to gambling are now very common; the firms that provide protected trust deeds usually take a sympathetic and supportive view. If their client has addressed the underlying gambling issue, and they genuinely wants to address their debts, they’re more than happy to help.

Where people choose to become bankrupt instead (or their creditors have made them bankrupt) there’s an additional consideration to bear in mind.

If a trustee in bankruptcy considers an individual to have behaved in a way “that could be considered dishonest or blameworthy” then they might be subject to additional consequences. One of the grounds sometimes included in this definition is heavy gambling with no genuine expectation of being able to repay the money borrowed. Bankruptcy Restriction Undertakings (or Orders) can be the outcome in this scenario.

This is an important reason to proactively get help quickly. The sooner you tackle your debts, the more likely you’ll have access to a debt solution incorporating less severe consequences.   

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