I Used My Home Equity to Gamble at Casinos and Lost. – Fred

“Dear Steve,

I used my home line of credit to gamble at casinos and now can’t sell my home because it’s not worth what it was was a year and a half ago. It is now worth $15,000 less and I can’t refinance it because the house is not worth it and I don’t have a job.


Dear Fred,

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I have to be honest, part of me just wants to say “WTF Dude?”

Without addressing the underlying issues that led you to use borrowed money to gamble, let’s just look at the outcome and consequences.

You borrowed money against your home, using it as collateral to secure your loan, and spent the borrowed funds. Now you are unable to pay that money back.

The outcome — you are going to lose your home if you can’t make your payments against it. You might as well look around for a new place to live now before the foreclosure leaves you homeless. But while you are at it, look for a temp job, a full time job or a part time job. You’ve got to work to keep a roof over your head. unfortunately it’s not going to be the roof you are living under right now.

Let’s turn to the gambling for a moment. Gambling is fine if you are using money you are prepared to lose and look at gambling as entertainment. Me, I simply don’t enjoy gambling. The turning point for me was a billboard I saw when I was attending a convention in Las Vegas. The billboard said “Highest Payouts in Vegas 95%”. So if the casino was bragging that they had the highest payouts in Vegas and I was still going to lose 5% of every dollar I spent, I’d rather keep my dollar. It’s a losers game if you are looking for income.

So why do people gamble? Well it can be entertaining, occupy time, social, exciting, stimulating, and for some, fun. It is those positive attributes which attract people. But in helping people with money problems, what I typically see are older people, who are lonely, who spend money at slots and before they know it, they are broke.

My favorite casino story was from a local resident of a new indian casino in Michigan. When the casino opened they wanted to draw in local residents so if you showed ID they would give you $100 in chips to get you started. I met a guy who went to the casino, got his chips, cashed them in and took the money to buy a used chain saw for his landscape business. Sweet!

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Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.
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