Funding a gambling addiction with credit cards is not only a bad idea for those addicted to gambling, but it is also not allowed from certain creditors.
Do You Have a Gambling Addiction?
If you are funding gambling with credit cards, you have a problem already. If you don't have enough cash, you shouldn't be playing. There are many reasons you shouldn't be gambling with cash either, but this article's focus is on credit card issues related to gambling.
The National Council on Problem Gambling (NPCG) reports that when gambling affects any part of your life negatively, you have a gambling or gaming addiction. Many people believe that financial woes are the one and only negative indicator of a gambling addiction. That's far from true.
Here a few examples of what NPCG means by gambling affecting any part of your life:
- If you lie about gambling to people you care about or who care about you
- If gambling affects your relationship negatively with family, partner, children, or friends
- If gambling affects how you perform at work or causes frequent absences
- If gambling causes you to feel depressed, manic depression, angry, or otherwise change your mood
If you are in debt due to gambling, that affects your life as well. If you are funding a gambling addiction with credit cards, it's almost certain you have a huge problem. There are more indicators as well, however. If you aren't sure if you have a gambling addiction, visit the Facts and Answers page at NPCG.
Funding Gambling Addiction with Credit Cards Can Bury You in Debt
Technically, any addictive gambling habits can bury you in debt. It doesn't matter if you fund your gambling with cash, credit, cars, or your house. Credit cards are especially insidious for your budget, however.
The problem with using credit cards for gambling is that credit is essentially invisible money. Credit is just as much your money as cash, but you are far more likely to overspend with credit than cash. Since cash eventually runs low physically, it prompts one to think over the consequences. Credit is less tangible, thus gamblers are less likely to feel that they're spending real money.
A huge issue surrounding funding gambling addiction with credit cards is hidden charges. You spend more gambling with credit cards than cash because right from the start hidden fees can occur. It's typical for both online and regular casinos to charge an extra fee to individuals who gamble with credit. Over that, credit card companies themselves often charge an extensive fee for taking cash out of a credit card. Either way, this means you start out gambling in the hole.
What the Credit Card Companies Are Doing
In 2002, Citibank banned use of Citibank credit cards from online gambling venues. In 2003, ten more banks made the outstanding decision to ban online gambling with their bank-issued credit cards. In fact, most major credit card companies and banks have since followed suit.
The goal is to stop the prevalence of online gambling and for credit card issuers to stop lawsuits. About nine years ago, a lady named Cynthia Haines may have single handedly started the trend of blocking credit card use for online gambling. In the 1990s, Haines spent $70,000 on internet gambling using her credit cards. Haines was than sued by her credit card company, Providian, for her unpaid credit card bills. Haines turned around to sue Visa and MasterCard for allowing her to place the gambling bets in the first place. According to Haines, Visa and MasterCard were promoting illegal activity.
There are so many issues wring with a case like this that it's hard to know where to start. Haines exhibits classic, "It's not my fault" mentality towards the situation. In numerous reports, she claims to not have a online gambling addiction. One lesson from this situation is that obviously there are individuals who try to get out of the responsibility of owning up to an addiction. The second is that credit card companies who allow for online gambling may be held at fault. Haines did manage to settle with her creditors, but it rocked the online use of credit cards for gambling purposes - probably for the better.
For help fighting a gambling addiction, visit NPCG.