Throughout history, gambling has been a popular pastime. Today, it’s even more accessible than ever before due to online gambling websites. Unfortunately, what can begin as an enjoyable pastime and opportunity to relieve stress, can present quite a few challenges — especially with the ease of gambling with your credit or debit card.
The Draw of Easy Money
It seems more and more online gambling websites are popping up every day. Each one offers the lure of quick wins and easy money. Plus, they allow you to gamble from practically anywhere – only requiring an Internet connection.
Gambling by nature is designed to be addictive. While it can be fun, limit setting is a must. The lure of “one more win” often has people digging in even deeper once they find themselves in a hole.
The ability to use your credit cards makes it even easier to dig that hole deeper, leading to significant stress and the potential for substantial financial repercussions.
For many people, financial challenges are the first indicator of a gambling problem. These problems often affect more than the person placing the bets, particularly if you have a family.
Early warning signs may include:
Late or overdue bills
Maxed out credit cards
A constant need to borrow money
Inability to meet basic needs for your family (such as food, housing, and clothing)
Selling off personal property to help pay your debts
Applying for payday and other high-interest rate short-term loans
Even more damaging is that most online betting websites charge your credit card as a “cash” transaction. This means you may be required to pay cash advance fees and interest rates that are much higher than your standard rate, leading to additional financial challenges.
Gambling can be enjoyable if you keep a few key items in mind before logging into one of the many online gambling websites.
- Do a little research first. Make sure you’re visiting reputable websites and fully understand how the fees and payouts work, as well as how the “games” you’re playing operate. Many websites lure you in with the promise of great payouts, only for you to discover that is not the case.
- Protect your information. Many of these websites are breeding grounds for malware and viruses, so make sure your anti-virus protections are up-to-date and that you use unique, hard-to-crack passwords. Also, make sure you only use websites that are secured before you enter your credit card, debit card, or any other financial information. This is generally denoted by an “https://” designation in the web address.
- Review your accounts regularly for incorrect or questionable deductions. It is always good practice to monitor your accounts to ensure you're being charged correctly, but it’s vital that you do so if you are using the internet to legally gamble. Your ability to dispute any transaction is limited and time sensitive. Additionally, during these reviews, you should also monitor just how much you are spending and how it affects your budget.
- Set limits. One of the most important things you can do for yourself when gambling is to set boundaries. Enjoy yourself but keep your spending within limits to protect the financial health and future of you and your family. your financial health and future and that of your family.
In addition to the considerations above, always keep your personal information private. Many online gambling websites offer the ability to socially interact with others through chat rooms or messaging. Never reveal your personal or financial information, even if you believe you’re interacting with someone you know or trust.
We’re Here to Help!
If you, or someone you love, are showing signs of gambling addiction, there is help available through the National Council on Problem Gambling. Plus, most states offer their own gambling help options as well.
While gambling can be fun, it may also lead to financial challenges. If you’re experiencing hardships as a result of gambling, or any of life’s other challenges, we’re here to help you get back on the financial track.
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