I recently consulted with a debtor who attended my office for possible debt solutions. After reviewing their financial affairs, I asked the individual to provide me with the root cause or reason why they had over-extended themselves on over $60,000 in lines of credit and credit card debt. They willingly admitted that the reason for racking up the large debt load was due to an addiction to gambling, more specifically, a propensity to visit online gambling sites with a view to winning big. On probing further, however, they shared with me that the reason they frequented online gambling sites was to cope with three relatively close family member deaths over the preceding six month period.
One of the first steps that the individual did was to contact the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) at their place of employment– which is set up specifically to assist employees with personal problems that might adversely impact their ability to fulfill their work duties and affect the overall health and well-being of the individual. The EAP referred them to a local counselling service to help them deal with the grieving process and to prevent the grieving process from creating specific triggers that would cause further gambling episodes. The individual, through qualified counselling, was able to recognize that they in fact had a problem and that the necessary treatment was to somehow find out what was causing the propensity to gamble. Having received counselling to deal with the root cause of their personal gambling problem, they still found themselves having to deal with over $60,000 of debt.
Recovery From Gambling Debt
That is where A. Farber and Partners could assist in the recovery process. Instead of filing a personal bankruptcy, I explained to them that they could file a consumer proposal, which essentially is a contract to settle their debt load. A consumer proposal is a means to compromise their debt by allowing the individual to pay a monthly manageable payment over a period of not more than five years. This individual ended up paying around $600 per month for a five year period which still ended up providing the lines of credit and credit card companies a reasonable return. Along with the filing of the consumer proposal, this individual also took the following steps to aid in their recovery:
- Relinquished the control of all credit card and lines of credit facilities – this is automatically done through the filing of the consumer proposal.
- Installed anti-gambling software on their personal computer, and any kind of device (whether a tablet or cell phone) that has internet capability for visiting the online gambling sites.
- Implementation of a dual signature process for bank withdrawals on all personal accounts.
- Ensuring that all of the debtor’s employment income goes into an account controlled by their spouse.
- Learning to manage the triggers that drove them to online gambling sites.
There is hope for those caught in the trap of online gambling or gambling in general. We, at A. Farber and Partners, care about the individual and can assist anyone facing a similar situation. We provide one free consultation on strategies to compromise debts with a view to getting back on track financially and more importantly to provide the right strategies for overcoming gambling problems.