It’s easy to think that one could wipe out all of his debt by gambling just one more time. After all, people win every day, right? Casinos are set up to encourage you to hear people winning all around you: the slot machines make very pleasant, excited sounds; the craps tables are full of rowdy, happy players; the blackjack tables are full of focused players and fast-moving cards.
The problem is that gambling in casinos is designed to take money from you. The casinos design the game to take a percentage of all winnings, called the vigorish, from 1.06% in baccarat to 27% in Keno (see http://casinogambling.about.com/library/bledge.htmfor a whole chart). That means that whenever you lay a dollar down on a Keno game, you will get 73 cents back on average. It’s not a winning proposition. Think about it: if jackpots are so easy to get, then why does the casino name so few jackpot winners in a given month?
Professional gamblers focus on limiting losses and making small wins (see http://www.johnpatrickcasino.comfor books on gambling technique) in order to make their living, so expecting that one night’s gambling will wipe out months of gathering gambling debt is unrealistic. Instead, you have to take these steps: 1) Stop gambling. 2) Pay back the debt as quickly as you can. 3) Don’t go back to gambling unless you have an appropriate sized bankroll and have learned discipline.
The first step makes complete sense. Gambling is an addictive behavior, though, so it will be the hardest to do. You’ll have to spend your Friday nights doing something else, even if it costs money at first. If you love the excitement of gambling, go to an amusement park. If you love to be around all that money, read about the stock market instead and dream of buying stock. If you love gambling for the way you are treated at a casino, go out to eat. Any remedial steps to any problem start with stopping the damage. You have to stop gambling, all gambling. Leave those lottery tickets alone.
Second, find out the interest rate and payment terms on your debt. Work with the casino you owe, asking what others have done in your situation. Make a payment plan with them. If the interest is too high and you have good credit, get a personal loan. Use http://www.prosper.com or http://wwwlendingclub.com for peer to peer lending, or use http://www.lendingtree.com to get banks to compete for your business. If you belong to a credit union, get credit there. It will be your lowest interest rate, especially if you take a loan against your savings account.
Do not replace this debt with other debt unless you have stopped gambling. Nothing is worse than getting rid of a debt by putting it elsewhere and then taking it on again. Just as you should not spend on a credit card whose balance you transferred to another debt, you should never take on more gambling debt after you’ve converted your debt to another vehicle. Also, do not take a home equity loan to get rid of this debt. You are giving away real property for frivolity if you do.
Then, make your budget tight so that you can pay down the debt as fast as possible. Do not cut yourself off from entertainment entirely – remember that you do need that excitement and if you deny yourself any fun, you’ll wind up back at the casino.
Once you’ve made the repayment process routine, you can relax a little and pay down your debt. Read on how to gamble more responsibly or find a hobby that does not take so much away from you. Enjoy other things. Pay the debt down and watch it carefully so you can be proud of your efforts. You can do this.