Online Gambling Causing Credit Card Debt

I ran across this little piece of absurdity and thought I would take it head on.

Online Gambling Causing Credit Card Debt

It is the latest craze at the moment and everyone seems to be enjoying gambling at home with the increase of poker sites on the internet, but its not good news if you are running up debts on your credit card. I don’t know about you but it seems that I have a misconceived perception of time when I am sitting at my computer; time just seems to fly by. The longer you are gambling on an internet poker site, the more money you are spending.

Untrue. Winning poker players make more money the more time they spend playing. Obviously, the author of this post assumes:

a) All forms of gambling are -EV (and most are, but not all)
b) Everybody sucks as bad as he does at gambling

Online gambling is being seen as pushing up consumer debts and that’s not good for the economy. Figures from the government have revealed that the amount of money spent on gambling shows a perturbing sharp increase.

Nice way to take two unrelated facts and come to a completely unrelated conclusion.

Consumer debt is not good for the economy. True
The money wagered on gambling is sharply increasing with both the rise of online sites as well as B&M casinos sprouting up all over the place. True
Online gambling has caused an increase in consumer debt. False.

No evidence supports that conclusion. Money and consumer debt are not the same thing. The author has munged the two true facts to arrive at a completely unproven third assertion.

The glamorization of gambling, especially poker, by celebrities at the moment is partly to blame for the rise in gambling. Sitting at home on your computer can undermine your ability to spend your money wisely. Internet poker sites or casino sites allow you to insert your credit card details; once your details have been entered you can continue gambling up to your credit limit. Some gamblers are maxing out numerous credit cards at a time to try and win back money they have lost with the Debt Advisor group seeing some individual debts as high as $200,000. Casinos have a strong cash culture unlike internet gambling where it is your credit card that does the spending. Using cash instead of your credit card makes you more aware of the amount you are spending.

Uh, it’s a lack of self control that causes one to spend their money unwisely. Glamorizing poker is an unrelated input. People who have impulse control problems or are addicted to gambling need to seek help for their problems. Somone with an impulse control problem can just as easily be addicted to buying crap on eBay as they are playing online poker. That person’s impulse control problem doesn’t mean that eBay is evil.

Again the author uses that fact + fact = new fact logic to imply that since you can give a gambling site your credit card info and run the card up to the limit that you will. First off, most sites do not take credit cards. Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and most other credit card companies will decline any gambling related purchases. You can often use a Visa or MasterCard debit card but that comes directly out of your available cash thus does not (directly) contribute to debt issues. Some people can get around that by using a third party eWallet type product but even with this sort of solution, getting money into the eWallet via credit cards is often difficult (i.e. the credit card companies know who the gambling eWallet people are and often decline purchase requests).

The author also throws out one of those scary statements about $200,000 in gambling debt and makes implications which don’t stand up. If you’ve got $200,000 worth of credit card credit then you’re probably not hurting for money. That’s a lot of credit! What I would guess is that the author has taken the case of someone who is in $200,000 in debt from all forms. This wasn’t racked up all on credit cards. The way the author continues to mix and match facts should set off some alarms as to his honesty.

Lastly, B&M casnios are not a strong cash culture. Yes, you have to have cash but the casino doesn’t care if you go to the ATM and max out your credit card to go get it. I don’t use credit cards for gambling but I do remember at least once instance where I received a cash advance from the casino by presenting my credit card.

The growth of gambling online in the next five years is predicted to be around 22% a year while playing poker online is said to rise by 44% a year. Gambling through your cellular phone is now also being offered by companies which could see even higher debts being accumulated.

I guess this is more a statement of opinion than fact but I don’t believe that making gaming more accessable via cell phones is going to change the habits of a gambling addict. In other words, if you have a gambling problem, having access to poker on your cell phone isn’t going to dramatically increase your playing time. Even PartyPoker has expressed a lack of desire to get into the cellular phone market due to the problems with gambling via cell devices. If there was a ton of money to made there, online poker rooms would be jumping all over themselves to get into the market.

Gambling has always seen its fair share of creating debt problems but with easier accessibility it may cause more households to suffer from unmanageable debt. Other household members are usually unaware that there is a debt problem looming not realizing how much is actually being gambled, the more desperate people become to win back their money the higher the stakes become seeing people usually losing more and more.

Ahhh . . . but can’t people get into unmanagable debt by just being asshat consumers? Doesn’t the entire internet make it easier to get into debt if you have poor money management habits?

The entire purpose of this article is to promote the author’s business interests. Since the author doesn’t seem to provide gambling addiction counseling, the more prudent recommendation is to fix the gambling addiction first and then get your debt problems under control. The fact that the author thinks that someone who is in the downward spiral of gambling addiction (i.e. hiding gambling from the family and trying to gamble your way out of debt) should only deal with the debt issue shows his bias.

If you are suffering form credit card debt problems through internet gambling there are Certified Debt Arbitrators that can help you. Seeking help sooner rather than later will prevent even more debt.

What if you’re just suffering from normal credit card debt? Certified Debt Arbitrators won’t help you? If you have any sort of credit card debt problems, you should seek help. Some people have poor money management practices and spend money on clothes, cars, vacations, etc. Gambling is just one of many ways people can find themselves in financial troubles. If you have a problem, seek help.

[tags]online poker, credit card debt[/tags]

Bill Rini
Bill Rini is currently the Head of Online Poker for WSOP. He has been working in the online poker industry since 2004 and has held management roles at Full Tilt Poker and PartyPoker.

8 thoughts on “Online Gambling Causing Credit Card Debt”

  1. “I bet this guy just got his Aces cracked on a .05/.10 limit hold em table.”

    I hate it when that happens and I too write a story about gibberish (now with extra nonsense!!!11!onehundredeleven!!1) afterwards.

  2. “Online gambling is being seen as pushing up consumer debts and that’s not good for the economy.”

    Whenever someone says “is being seen as” instead of “is,” you can be 99.9% sure he is totally full of shit.

  3. If I could use my AmEx on a gambling site, I’d charge the hell out of it, rack up points, then withdraw the money to my bank account to pay off the balance. Just like PayPal in the old days.

  4. This is a classic write-up of gambling and poker by someone who knows nothing of what he speaks. It’s kind of like the Ball State sports report done by not only someone new to broadcast TV news, but also someone who knows little about sports. Good find. It is basically just another example of people in modern society not having the discipline and self-control to manage their money, which is in no short supply these days. The end result is these people trying to supposedly “recoup” their losses will just enhance the bottom line for those that play online poker as a profession and that poker is not much of a gamble.

  5. This also assumes that you can ever get a credit card company to let you deposit into a poker site, a feat that I’ve desparately tried only to never be able to accomplish it (figured it would be easier to explain to my wife than a withdrawal from our checking account).

  6. This whole post sniffs of “come give me your business, given the website. It sounds like this doofus is appealing to gamblers and using the poker boom to try to boost his own sales.

    Nice and hypocritical of him to do so.

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