Is Gambling a Catalyst for IVA Advice?

The Gambling Commission's 2011 British Gambling Prevalence Survey highlights some bleak facts related to the financial distress many are experiencing as a result of gambling. Nearly 500,000 people in the British Isles are thought to be problem gamblers, with nearly a million gamers very close to becoming part of this category."Problem gambling" defines a situation in which the behaviour "compromises, disrupts or damages family, personal or recreational pursuits". Men, individuals of an early age, Asian/Asian British, and Black/Black British individuals were categorised as being most exposed to the risks.


Gamcare (a UK centre for gambling assistance) co-commissioned an examination in 2008 on the correlation that exists between gambling and financial difficulties.

The investigation found liabilities of over £50,000 were regularly seen amongst individuals fighting with gambling problems. When debts reach such a high level there are very few avenues to explore other than sourcing formal assistance in the form of IVA advice or some other debt measure.


With vast amounts of people struggling with a gambling problem, double that amount of people at-risk of becoming swept up in a problem and huge debts frequently being one of the outcomes, one might expect that considerable resources would be provided to help those struggling with the issue. For an IVA to be a success it is integral that the gambling addiction is beforehand. Without treatment for the underlying issue, IVA completion success rates are severely reduced.


Such areas of assistance for problem-gamblers appear to be far too restricted in the view of those providing IVA advice. Gamcare's research on debt and gambling highlights the fact that knowledge about the best methods of assisting those addicted to online gambling is very thin on the ground, even amongst frontline GPs (as well as other medical professionals). Part of the IVA advice procedure for those with gambling debts is therefore often to direct the debtor to a dedicated service, such that one provided by Gamcare itself.


IVA advice organisations will be largely in favour of a 2009 Gamcare proposition that creditors should create measures that prohibit online gambling through debt and credit cards. Of course the banks have done no such thing, leaving the door definitely ajar for online gamblers to further deepen their financial woes.


Any individual that has created sizable internet gambling debts must not be deterred from taking debt or IVA advice because of the specific source of their financial woes. Responsible Individual Voluntary Arrangement providers will provide you with general debt and IVA advice, help you work through your situation to establish a manageable financial plan, and signpost external agencies which will help you in dealing with any deep seated gambling problems.


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