Rebuilding Credit After Financial Ruin from Gambling

Poker chips and cards

Webster’s online dictionary states addiction is “a strong and harmful need to regularly have something (such as a drug) or do something (such as gamble)”.

One’s addiction to gambling may be far reaching, and its effect on credit could be substantial.

Often times fulfilling the perceived need to gamble can derail a person financially.

It may start with the sufferer using all of their cash on hand and quickly escalate to spending monthly budgeted funds and their entire savings.

This type of spending can wreak havoc on credit. Rebuilding credit is challenging and takes discipline but it is possible to regain your financial freedom.

Start by reaching out for help. It’s important to have a strong support team, your therapist, support group, sponsor or loved one can help you remain accountable to avoiding gambling and relapse.

Use their help to address and avoid triggering situations.


There are resources available to assist with reestablishing credit and rebuilding your credit score. One helpful resource is your financial institution. Your bank or credit union will often times have a credit builder account that will allow you to newly establish or re-establish credit.

education and friendship concept - happy students giving high five at schoolThis works by having you save a set amount of money, such as $500. You provide the $500 to your bank and they put a hold on it.

They use these funds as collateral to provide you a loan.

They set up a payment plan that allows you to make regular monthly payments, and after completing the payment plan with timely payments, you will have a positive credit rating on your credit report for this account.

This is a great place to start! (Remember to go easy on credit. Paying for an item on credit still means you are paying for it, it will just cost more with the added interest you will need to pay.)

Another great resource for establishing credit is the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FTC has a website that provides information on developing a budget as well as contacting creditors.

Develop a Budget

Developing a budget is an important first step to re-establishing credit and getting back to living within your means. A budget does not have to be complicated to work. It can be as simple as putting pen to paper and listing your monthly expenses, debts and due dates.

If you are technologically savvy, there are also online options and phone apps. Planning out where each dollar you earn will go is important to re-establishing your credit.

Debts must be paid timely in order to reverse the poor credit cycle and increase your credit score.

Contacting creditors is another important step in this process. Creditors are great at calling and requesting payments, they can be relentless at pursuing an unpaid debt.

Mother and daughter enjoying surfing on the net with tablet while relaxing at home with coffeeUsually consumers are not as good with contacting creditors to make payment arrangements. Some people prefer to call their creditors, others prefer to write their creditors.

Either way is acceptable, the FTC and Dave Ramsey (see their websites) have sample templates for contacting creditors and requesting a payment plan.

For those creditors that are calling and calling, you can also use this letter to request that the creditor stop calling you after the payment arrangement has been made.

Using this written correspondence, it will allow you to document your attempt in making amends with your creditors. Keep a copy of this signed letter in your records.

If your credit issues are minor, you may also request a creditor to remove any late payments being reported. It cannot hurt to ask, remember the worst they can say is no.

Some creditors will remove the late in order to maintain you as a customer, of course, some will refuse to make changes. Either way this an important step to rebuilding your credit score.

The stress that occurs with having poor credit and unpaid debts can be triggering. Although these steps can be time consuming at first, taking back the control of your finances and rebuilding your credit score can be very helpful in your road to recovery.

Take the time to address your credit issues and be encouraged by your no matter how small. Each small step forward will bring you closer to your goal of recovery and financial freedom.


Jane McGuireAbout the author: Jane McGuire is the Executive Assistant for Jacquelyn Ekern, Founder of Eating Disorder Hope and Addiction Hope. Jane graduated from Eastern Oregon University with a Bachelor’s degree in Business. Jane believes that everyone has a story of trial, that when shared, can be used to benefit and encourage someone else who is struggling to find hope and direction.

The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of addictions. These are not necessarily the views of Addiction Hope, but an effort to offer discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.

We at Addiction Hope understand that addictions result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an addiction, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.

Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on January 25, 2016
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About Baxter Ekern

Baxter Ekern is the Vice President of Ekern Enterprises, Inc. He contributed and helped write a major portion of Addiction Hope and is responsible for the operations of the website.