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Get help with gambling problems

This advice applies to Scotland

If you’re worried about your gambling or someone else’s, there are places you can go for support.

If you’re struggling with debt

Start dealing with your debts as soon as you can, as well as getting help to stop gambling. Our debt advice will help you:

  • work out which debts to deal with first 
  • find specialist help, if you need it

Find out how to start dealing with your debts.

If you want to stop gambling, the best thing to do is add your name to a list of people gambling companies aren’t allowed to serve. This is called 'self excluding' yourself - find out more about self exclusion on the GambleAware website.

If you’d like to talk to someone about your problem, you can:

You can also:

If you haven’t been paying your rent or mortgage

You should contact your landlord or mortgage lender as soon as possible - it can be tough, but if you ignore their warnings you could lose your home.

You can find out what action to take about rent arrears or what to say to your mortgage lender if you can't pay them back straight away.

Check if you can get a refund if you’ve borrowed money

You can complain to your lender if they let you borrow money you couldn’t afford to pay back - for example, if they gave you a loan or credit card. 

You should complain if both of the following apply:

  • you’ve used the money you borrowed to gamble

  • your lender should have known you gamble before they lent you money - for example, if your bank statements showed you were gambling

If your complaint is successful, your lender should remove any charges or interest. If you’ve already paid charges or interest, your lender should refund you. You’ll usually still have to pay back the money you borrowed.

You can use a template letter to help you complain to your lender.

If you’re worried about your partner’s gambling

You can’t be held responsible for any debts in your partner’s name.

If your partner has taken out debts in your name without you knowing, it’s fraud. You aren’t responsible for paying these back, but you’d have to report the fraud to the police.

You should keep an eye on your finances  - your partner could be hiding the scale of the problem from you. If you’re not sure how to approach the situation you can talk to an adviser from GamCare.

If you have a joint credit card or loan with your partner

You’ll be responsible for those debts. Your credit rating can also be affected by your partner’s actions, because you have a financial link to them.

There are steps you can take to get on top of credit card and loan debts

If you have a joint benefit claim and your partner gets the money

You might be able to split the payments so your partner can’t gamble with your money.

You’ll need to ask the people who pay your benefits and explain the situation. You can contact them using the details on any letters or emails you’ve got about your benefits.

In Scotland, you can ask for some of your Universal Credit to be paid directly to your landlord.

If you own your home jointly with your partner

If debts secured against your home go unpaid, like your mortgage, the lender could decide to sell it to recover the money that's owed - this is called repossession. If debts aren't secured against your home, they could try to stop you selling it - this is called inhibition.

There's action you or your partner can take to try to stop this happening, like dealing with your mortgage arrears or challenging the lender's action in court. You could contact the lenders your partner owes money to. Explain the situation to them and tell them what your partner is doing to tackle the problem.

If you're worried about losing your home or you have any letters from lenders or the court, you don't have to deal with it alone. Get help from a specialist money adviser at your local Citizens Advice bureau.

If you were allowed to gamble when you shouldn’t have

Gambling companies shouldn't let you gamble if:

  • you’re under 18 years old

If you think you shouldn’t have been allowed to gamble you can complain to the Gambling Commission on their website. They can take action if they think a gambling company hasn't followed the rules.

Shops shouldn’t sell you National Lottery tickets or scratchcards if you’re under 18 years old. If you think they shouldn’t have sold you or someone else a ticket or scratchcard you can complain to the National Lottery on their website.

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