Contact us on 031 010 0509 or send a WhatsApp to 079 376 2899.

How to Deal with Gambling Debt

With multiple major international sporting events taking place every year and weekly lottery draws of eye-watering amounts of cash, it is easy to get swept up in the occasion. During all the excitement, you may be tempted to bet on the ‘big game’, but this harmless bit of fun for many can become a real problem for others. In this post, Debt Movement offers their expert advice on how to deal with gambling debt.

Gambling addiction costs South Africans millions each year, and casinos, lotteries and betting companies have done little to stop gambling debt from becoming a major problem. So now millions of people find their lives negatively affected by something considered  “harmless fun”. Keep reading to find out what you can do if your gambling debt has gone too far. 

Gambling Warning Signs

For many people, it is difficult to admit that they have a gambling addiction. What is considered a bit of fun can get out of hand before you know it, and gambling debt can accumulate. What are the signs that you or your loved one has a gambling problem? These are the most common warning signs:

  • Betting more than you can afford
  • Lying to friends and family about your betting habits
  • Losing interest in other activities or constantly thinking about gambling
  • Selling belongings to gamble
  • Feeling stressed or anxious about your betting habits
  • Missing debt payments or bills due to money spent on gambling
  • Gambling to pay off debt.

If you or your loved ones are experiencing any of these warning signs, then it could mean that they are one of the many problem gamblers in South Africa. If this is the case, there is no need to worry or feel ashamed. Now is the time to get professional help both financially and emotionally.

How Can Gambling Debt Impact Your Life?

Gambling is on the rise, and for many gamblers, this harmless fun can become a life-changing experience. Learning how to deal with gambling debt isn’t just a difficult task that puts your finances under stress; it can affect many other aspects of your life and impact everyone differently.

Firstly, gambling debt can have a significant impact on your personal finances and is likely to lead to financial difficulties. When people suffer from gambling debt, they will often try to fund their habit by taking out loans, credit cards or even overdrafts. These short-term fixes can often lead to you just getting into even more financial difficulty, leaving  you struggling to pay your bills.

Secondly, gambling debt can have a huge impact on your mental health and wellbeing. The feelings of shame, anxiety, depression, low self-esteem and even insomnia can put a strain on every aspect of your life and make you feel helpless and alone.

Finally, gambling debt can also affect your relationships. Financial difficulties can put a major strain on your personal and professional relationships. You may find yourself spending less time with your loved ones or doing your work, and more time gambling. You may even find yourself more irritable and argumentative because of the newfound financial stress you are under.

How to Deal with Gambling Debt

Identify Your Debts

The first step in dealing with any kind of addiction is to admit that you have a problem and that you need some help. The next step in dealing with your gambling debt is to make a list of all the money you owe. This way, you will have a list of the creditors you owe and the amount you will have to repay. 


Once you know what and who you owe money to, you will want to prioritise your debts by their level of urgency. If you have debts that could somehow lead to your property being repossessed or you have bills for essentials like electricity and water, then you will want to focus on paying them off first. After you have paid these debts, you can then focus on the high-interest debts to save yourself some money in the long run.

Pay What You Can

Once you have a better idea of the amount of money you have to repay and which debts you need to pay off first, it’s a good time to take any available cash or finances that you have and pay off what you can. Don’t leave yourself short so that you don’t have enough money to make it through the month, but start making a dent in that gambling debt and stop the interest from mounting up.

Consider Your Debt Solutions

Debt Review

Debt Review is a government legislated process that forms part of the National Credit Act 34 of 2005 (NCA) which was created to help and protect people who are struggling to meet their monthly debt repayments.

Under Debt Review, your debt counsellor will formulate a new affordable monthly repayment plan by taking into account all of your income and expenses. Your debt counsellor will then negotiate with your creditors to reduce your monthly repayments (in some cases by up to 50%). Your debt counsellor will aim to ensure that your interest rates, as well as your monthly repayments are reduced, helping you pay back your creditors and become financially free within a period of 60 months or less.

Debt Review enables you to manage your costs of living and regain your financial freedom. Read our blog explaining all of the benefits of Debt Review.

Get Help with Your Gambling Addiction

The final step to dealing with your gambling debts is by treating the problem at its root cause. Ensure that you get professional help for your gambling addiction so that this problem doesn’t come back again. There are a range of places where you can get help, from your local GP to groups like Gamblers Anonymous. Don’t deal with these problems by yourself. Take advantage of the support around you and take the sure bet to success.

Don’t deal with gambling debt by yourself. Contact Debt Movement and find out how Debt Movement can help you get your finances under control.