In research carried out by MoneyExpert, some 21 per cent of the money put on various bets and wagers across the country every month is sourced by going into debt or dipping into savings accounts. Overall, 14.3 million adults – about one in three – claim to gamble sexy baccarat at least once every month, with an average stake of £21.37. Meanwhile, almost one million people – the majority of which are men – spend between £50 and £150 per month having a flutter which in turn could put pressure on their personal finances. Findings from the independent financial comparison website also revealed that 13 per cent of gamblers can only afford to fund their habit by borrowing money, with a further eight per cent reported to be using up their personal savings – which could act as further proof of the potential debt problems being created by Britons.
Credit cards were the most popular form of borrowing to finance betting, the figures show, funding 1.4 million – or ten per cent – of gamblers. Meanwhile, an estimated 143,531 consumers have used cash from personal loans to fund gaming, with 1.1 million dipping into savings schemes. The study also revealed that two per cent of those putting on bets have run up debts on their overdraft to do so.
Sean Gardner, chief executive of MoneyExpert, said: “Millions of us enjoy a flutter on the Grand National and play the lottery every week. But borrowing money to fund a habit like gambling is potentially disastrous – it’ll inevitably lead you down a dangerous spiral of more and more debt. Borrowing when there is by definition a real risk you’ll lose the money is a dangerous game to play – whether you win or lose your creditors will want their money back.
“Anyone who is betting using a credit card for example should be extremely wary – if you start to miss repayments it’ll affect your credit rating. It’s very easy to lose track of the money you owe on your credit card, particularly with online gambling.”
He added that as “credit isn’t a licence to print money”, consumers who have run up debt problems should look to get professional advice and draw up a plan to pay off money owed. Advising that “if you have racked up debts through gambling the important thing is not to bury your head in the sand”, Mr Gardner suggested that taking out a cheap personal loan could be an option for those looking to reorganise their finances.
Earlier this year, research carried out by MoneyExpert revealed that millions of Britons are developing debt difficulties by going away on holiday. The firm suggested that 1.4 million consumers are still paying money owed from a break they went on last summer, with some 926,000 saying that it takes them at least 12 months to complete repayments incurred from a previous vacation. By constantly running up borrowing to finance a trip away, Mr Gardner warned consumers risk being “trapped in a spiral of debt which ultimately threatens to overwhelm them”.