My gambling problem has gotten me
into debt. Can I file bankruptcy?

There is a certain allure to gambling, the promise of a big payout can be extremely enticing, especially when you are on vacation in Las Vegas or Atlantic City and your usual guards are down. Whether it's playing the lottery or the slots, sometimes people think that if they spend just one more dollar, they could hit the jackpot and wash all of their financial woes away. While some people do win when they gamble, many more lose and unfortunately when we turn to gambling to either feed our addictions or solve are financial problems, what we often get instead is mounting debt. For many honest, hardworking citizens, they hit the casinos in hopes of winning a fortune or winning enough money to pay the mortgage that month. But, instead of fixing all of their problems, gambling usually has the opposite effect: gambling can create an addiction and the individual gets even deeper in debt than when they started.


In the past, bankruptcy courts frequently found gambling debts nondischargeable, but in recent years, and perhaps as a repercussion to the upsurge of legalized gambling in many states, the bankruptcy courts are allowing people to discharge gambling debt. Legalized gambling debt can be incurred in number of ways including credit extended by riverboats and casinos directly to patrons. Often, gambling debt manifests itself by cash advances from credit cards. If you have significant gambling debt, you may be wondering if it can be discharged through bankruptcy. Gambling debt, and this includes debt charged on your credit cards, loans, and debt incurred from casinos, can be discharged in bankruptcy. It will be important to know whether a creditor can object to the bankruptcy filing by asserting that your debt was incurred under false pretenses or through fraud. For example, if you took out a cash advance when you were unemployed, and knew you didn't have the money to pay it back when you borrowed the money, the creditor can ask the court not to discharge that debt; however, the burden of proof will be on the court to prove that you actually committed fraud. If you have incurred overwhelming gambling debt, bankruptcy may be your only option. We encourage you to contact a Columbus bankruptcy attorney from The Nesbitt Law Firm. We understand your satiation and are not here to judge; we want to help. You can call us toll free at (614) 344-6858 to set up a free, confidential consultation.


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    Laura M. Nesbitt

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