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Our response to inform the Gambling Commission's work on gambling and credit cards

To help inform the Gambling Commission’s work on the issue of gambling on credit cards and the links between gambling and debt more widely, we analysed the situations of the 500 clients we advised in 2018 who disclosed a problem with gambling to us.

The key findings from this are as follows:

  • Our clients with gambling issues, on average, owe more and have a higher number of debts. The average total debt of our clients with gambling issues is £16,323, with an average of 8.1 different debts.
  • Our clients with gambling issues were slightly more likely to have credit card debt, compared to our total client population.
  • However, our clients with gambling issues tend to have fewer credit cards compared against all clients, and on average, they also owe a lower amount on their credit card debts.
  • On average, our clients with gambling issues have two credit cards and owe £5,185 on them.
  • Clients with gambling issues were significantly more likely to have a personal loan, overdraft, payday loan or home credit. These findings suggest it is not just credit card debt that can be problematic for people with gambling issues, but other types of debt too.
  • Whilst our clients with gambling issues have higher total debt levels overall, their debt problems look less likely to be the result of a life event or persistent low income when compared to the averages for all clients. For example, clients with gambling issues have slightly higher incomes, are more likely to have positive budgets and are much more likely to be employed. This could suggest that combined support to deal with both their current debts and their gambling issues could help their finances to recover in the long-term.
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Foundation for Credit Counselling Wade House, Merrion Centre, Leeds, LS2 8NG trading as StepChange Debt Charity and StepChange Debt Charity Scotland. A registered charity no.1016630 and SC046263. It is a limited company registered in England and Wales (company no:2757055). Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

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