Debt Relief Victoria - PDSC Trustee Site

2014-01-03 01:50:16

Personal bankruptcy discharge and gambling


Don't Gamble with your Personal Bankruptcy Discharge ; Fulfilling Personal Obligations

As discussed in the recent post, 'Gambling and Personal Bankruptcy' a major and debilitating reality for many people in Canada is debts accrued through gambling. This is sadly one of the fastest ways to burn through funds, and here at C.E. Craig & Associates Inc., we have worked with many individuals who have lost thousands of dollars in as little as a year.    Statistics Canada estimated in 2011 that roughly six and a half per cent of the population were at risk of becoming problem gamblers, and other studies show that spending rates on gambling have increased by as much as four-fold over the last ten years partly because of the aforementioned availability of online gambling as well as more traditional methods. Problem gambling and the debts that result from this can be truly life destroying. Bankruptcy may seem the only possible financial solution, and even this may seem out of reach if the chances of a discharge are, as described in the previous post, affected by the continuance of the gambling addiction. It is therefore crucial to recognize the warning signs of an addiction to gambling and seek help. Fulfilling your personal obligations will increase the likelihood of your bankruptcy being discharged without suspension/and or conditions imposed.

The Financial Warning Signs of a Gambling Addiction

Problem gambling puts individuals at particular risk of financial distress as the individual caught in the grip of a gambling addiction is often unlikely to take measures to safeguard their personal finances , and when debts start to pile up will attempt to use further gambling to alleviate them, resulting of course in a vicious circle and further debt. When cash and disposable income has run out the problem gambler is then at severe risk of using credit cards until they are 'maxed out' or taking out loans, resulting of course in further creditors, and then any personal and even family savings may be accessed and used, leaving the individual caught in the grip of a gambling addiction with literally no recourse to funds. If property assets are considered enough to satisfy creditors then the debtor may even lose their home. A recent report by the Responsible Gambling organization shows that ninety per cent of problem gamblers have admitted to gambling with their personal income and family savings, and thirty per cent report debts of six figure sums. Gamblers who continue to risk their finances in spite of spiraling debts are clearly in the grip of an addiction. For a bankruptcy claim to be successful in the case of problem gambling it is crucial that the applicant shows a willingness to seek help for their gambling addiction.

Bankruptcy and Gambling Statistics

Although it may sound a complicated process, filing for bankruptcy is far from uncommon in the case of gambling debt. The SMR Research Corporation have calculated that gambling is the single fastest-growing driver of bankruptcy in Canada and the US and the third most cited reason for individual bankruptcy claims. Recent increases in the number of bankruptcies filed in Canada have been put down to the rise in problem gambling, and around twenty per cent of problem gamblers will at some point file a bankruptcy claim. The courts therefore are well versed in dealing with bankruptcy claims that have largely been brought about by gambling debt. 

Personal Obligations

Bankruptcy may supply immediate relief from debt but cannot prevent further problems; that is the sole responsibility of the individual. A discharge from your personal bankruptcy can be suspended or refused is the gambling continued significantly to the debt. To receive your discharge, many courts are imposing discharge obligations such as self banishment or counseling.  To ensure that you are discharged from the bankruptcy process in the shortest period of time, the conditions laid down by the court and the trustee must be adhered to including being open and honest with your Trustee at C.E. Craig & Associates Inc, who is there to help, support and advise. Ultimately bankruptcy should be seen not just as a swift solution to debt issues,  but rather as a first step in regaining control of your finances.  Demonstrating to the court and the personal bankruptcy trustee that you have taken personal responsibility and are seeking help for your problems increases your chances of a discharge and freedom from the crushing debts accrued by problem gambling. To demonstrate you are no longer attending avenues of gambling,  reporting your income and expenses to the Trustee on a monthly basis is required and possibly signing up for a self exclusion form from your local casino.  Debts accrued by online gambling, particularly on credit cards, are often more tricky and you will require self-discipline to ensure that whatever changes you make, are permanent.

Submitted by Eve Pearce