HARTLEPOOL Citizens Advice Bureau is concerned at how easy it is for people to gamble money they cannot afford to lose.
It says excessive gambling is seeing people to get into debt, causing serious problems for them and families.
Debt advice workers at the Park Road service say they are seeing a number of people come to them for help because of their gambling.
In two cases, they have helped clients go into bankruptcy and in another two cases they have helped them apply for Debt Relief Orders, a cheaper option than bankruptcy. Joe Michna, manager of the service, said: “Excessive gambling can lead to serious debt problems for individuals and their families.
“If essential household income is being used for gambling this means that bills go unpaid and that repayments on loans, credit cards are missed.
“We have recently dealt with some clients whose debt problems have been greatly exacerbated by their gambling habits and practices.
“Sometimes this gambling is hidden from other family members and this can also lead to relationship problems with partners and others discover the true extent of a person’s gambling.
“The widespread availability of gambling outlets such as betting shops is such that it is so easy for people to access and use these.”
Mr Michna said the citizens’ advice bureau can provide help, but people need to be honest about their problem
He added: “Our advice for people with debt who have gambling problems is twofold, seek our assistance with their debts and also seek help if they have a gambling addiction.”