It has been a "win some, lose some" sort of week for gamblers with huge successes and of course big losses.
The world’s largest casino has opened in Macao, China, to much fanfare. The megacasino, called the Venetian Macao Resort Hotel, cost £1.2bn to build and has 50,000 sq metres of gaming space, housing 3,400 slot machines. A new age of gaming success was heralded by big business everywhere.
But also this week tennis superstar Nicolay Davydenko has been hounded constantly about suspicious betting patterns and match fixing at a tournament he attended in Poland.
And finally this weekend marks the introduction in law of the Gambling Act 2005, which will see gambling laws relaxed significantly here in the UK. This has led to fears of an increase in problem gambling and increased debts.
Women are gambling as much as men
Consumer groups have got some cause for concern when it comes to gambling and debts. Recent research by MoneyExpert.com revealed that around 5.5 million women spend as much as £96 million a month on gambling.
And while nearly one in three female gamblers can afford to pay for their habit in cash, around one in six is forced to borrow money or dip into savings. That equates to around 1.08 million women.
The cause for concern is clear. Millions of us enjoy a flutter on the Grand National and play the Lottery every week. But borrowing money to fund a habit like gambling is potentially disastrous – it’ll inevitably lead you down a dangerous spiral of more and more debt.
Borrowing when there is by definition a real risk you’ll lose the money is a dangerous game to play – whether you win or lose your creditors will want their money back. So if you’re considering using the credit card or taking out a loan to make some money at the casino or down the bookies, the sensible option is to steer clear.
If you do borrow and gamble, and if you win, then pay back your loan immediately.
But if you lose then you may need to seek help too. If you start to miss repayments it’ll affect your credit rating and it’s very easy to lose track of the money you owe on your credit card. The best option is to decide on a plan to pay the money back.
Debt repayment options
If you can’t meet repayments it’s always better to tell someone or to seek professional help. The Consumer Credit Counselling Service is always a good starting point.
If you are looking for ways to consolidate your debts, try to transfer the debt onto a cheap form of borrowing such as a zero per cent credit card. Alternatively, seek out a competitive loan and stick to the repayment plan. You can read more about debt consolidation here.
What should I do now?
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