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Can Gambling Debt be included in Bankruptcy?
You can go bankrupt if you have gambling debt. It does not matter whether it built up because of an addiction or you tried to win money to pay existing debts.
As long as it is unsecured the debt is included just like any other. Your application will not be reviewed any less favourably because of it.
You will be asked on the application form whether you have incurred gambling debt in the last 2 years. If you have do not try to hide it. Once you are bankrupt you will have to explain to the Official Receiver exactly why your debt built up anyway.
Does Gambling Debt mean Bankruptcy will be automatically Extended?
It is not correct to say that gambling debt will always result in the length of your bankruptcy being extended. In general the fact that you have gambled in the past is not seen as a reason to do this.
Having said that if a large percentage of your debt is due to gambling (for example 50% or more) it is possible you may have to accept a BRU (Bankruptcy Restrictions Undertaking). This will extend certain restrictions put upon you.
The length of a BRU will normally be 3-4 years. However even if you receive one it is unlikely to have much affect on your day to day life. The main restrictions that are extended are not being able to borrow more (which you will not be able to do anyway) and not being able to act as a Company Director.
If you have gambling debt your bankruptcy is likely to last the standard 12 months. However this could be extended if the level of this type of debt is significant.
Should you stop Gambling before Applying for Bankruptcy?
If you have had a gambling addiction which has contributed to your debt it would be wise to seek help. You do not have to prove that you have stopped before you go bankrupt but it is clearly a sensible thing to do.
Given you believe you are addicted to online gambling a good organisation to speak to is GamCare. Alternatively you can speak to Gamblers Anonymous for help with all types of gambling addiction.
In your interview with the Official Receiver it will be useful for you to be able to tell them that you are no longer gambling and about the help you are receiving. They will be happy to hear you do not intend to gamble again and risk getting back into debt.
Try to stop gambling before going bankrupt. This will help prevent you getting back into debt in the future.