Financial Stress and Problem Gambling: The Hole Grows Deeper and Deeper

Financial stress isn’t something anyone wants to go through. However, in these unprecedented times, many have had to experience this side of the coin. With high unemployment rates, layoffs, and a slow economy, smart financial decisions may be what everyone needs to stay afloat. For individuals who suffer from problem gambling, the additional financial stress may be the breaking point. However, the urges to bet will not stop. With online gambling on the rise and always accessible, it is improbable that the current financial situation our country finds itself in will stop gamblers from gambling. 

Financial problems due to gambling, such as difficulty paying bills as a result of substantial gambling losses, overextended debt due to gambling, and gambling away savings, equity, or retirement funds, were reported by 24% of callers in April as the precipitating reason for the HelpLine contact [1]. Problem gambling can fool those affected into thinking that the end of these financial worries is just one bet away, while the hole grows deeper and deeper.

The fact is that although there are more reports of financial struggles, due to lockdown restrictions and new home-office trends, many people have reported more free time on their hands. In a survey conducted by the University of Sydney, 63% of participants reported having increased free time. Participants reporting higher distress were more likely to spend more money on gambling [2]. With different factors at play, it is the thought of the “what if” that keeps people gambling.

“Most of my anxious energy now is spent making plans for a future where I will likely not have a job … I think this is why I’m spending slightly more on lotto, it’s always been a nice bit of “imagine if,” and spending $5 doesn’t seem like a lot to make yet another contingency plan,” said a participant of the study [2]. Problem gambling is especially dangerous because it often goes undetected for years due to the lack of physical symptoms.FCCG Executive Director Jennifer Kruse explains that “there’s no physical sign of alert, and experts say compulsive gambling is beginning as early as college-age“[3]. 

We have good news for you!

Our 888-ADMIT-IT Problem Gambling Help Line is open 24/7 and available for anyone struggling with or is affected by problem gambling. We offer various resources and tools that will help you gain freedom and start your journey to recovery and financial freedom. It only takes one call. 

The FCCG’s 24-hour confidential and multilingual HelpLine can be reached by calling 888-ADMIT-IT (888-236-4848), texting (321) 978-0555, emailing, initiating a live chat at, or by reaching out to us on social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter.



[1] 24-Hour Problem Gambling HelpLine Annual Report., 2020 ed., The Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling, Inc., 2020, 24-Hour Problem Gambling HelpLine Annual Report

[2] Gainsbury, Sally. “The Impact of the COVID-19 Shutdown on Gambling in Australia.” University of Sydney, Aug. 2020,

[3] Washington, Eryka. “The Hidden Addiction: Internet Gambling.” WKMG, WKMG News 6 & ClickOrlando, 13 Jan. 2016,

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Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling