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Gambling with Online Gaming and Beyond

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With some reports in recent decades finding that (1) gambling losses account for some 10 percent of total bankruptcy filings, (2) more than 20 percent of compulsive gamblers are forced to seek the safe havens of bankruptcy, and (3) more than 90 percent of these same compulsive gamblers use credit cards in order to gamble, the idea of wagering money on little more than chance seems far from child’s play.  In truth, it can wreck budgets, marriages, and even lives. Add to that the rising popularity of river boat gaming, state-sanctioned lotteries, reservation casinos, and now, online gaming—even in the midst of an economic downturn—and it would be a good wager that many ordinary Americans are [literally] suffering from losses linked to some form of gambling.

Adding insult to injury, now comes news that some online gambling sites are actually actively scamming players—and not just with promises of winnings, but by actually defrauding users.  According to one recent report, a gaming site called CashBreak.com is an offending example.  “CashBreak.com makes the following boast on its homepage: ‘The Internets [sic] Greatest Games and they're all FREE!’ The games include online poker, bingo, keno, slots, solitaire and a lottery.

According to Nancy, a Consumer Ally reader and Georgia housewife who has asked not to give her last name, CashBreak.com is a fraudulent site that refuses to honor its commitments. The charge is repeated by other CashBreak.com members and echoed on various online complaint boards…. Another CashBreak.com member, Connie Whitman of Knightdale, N.C., told a similar tale about the gambling site. Whitman, who is retired on disability, has been playing on CashBreak.com for four years, is owed $200 and ‘can get no answer from them.’”

Apparently, countless complaints by Nancy, Connie and others to CashBreak.com, the Better Business Bureau, the governors and attorneys general of both Florida and North Carolina, as well as various agencies have accomplished little. It’s as if there money has just vanished.

Unfortunately, whether you’re a scammed online gamer, or a seriously compulsive gambler, this financial “vanishing act” is not uncommon for those willing to press their luck online, on water or on land. But where gambling is a dead end, with bankruptcy there’s hope.

While a while back, bankruptcy courts regularly found gambling debt nondischargeable, the uptick in legalized gambling in many states has pressed many courts to rethink the discharge of this kind of debt. In general, some gambling debts may be dischargeable in Chapter 7 bankruptcy, but the actual discharge of that debt may depend on several factors:

Where did you accrue the gambling debt?
States vary on their willingness to discharge this type of debt. For example, Nevada—a state with lots of casinos and casino—makes gambling debts fully enforceable.  But don’t give up, or assume this will be the case in your situation, especially if you live in (or incurred debt in) states less likely to have strict laws supporting local gambling industries.

Did you intend to pay it back?
If you are out of work and went to a casino and charged $100,000 worth of gambling debts to your credit card only to file bankruptcy a few weeks  later, a court will likely find you lacked the intention to repay your debt. In this case, your gambling debts would likely be deemed nondischargeable in bankruptcy.

How willing is your creditor to object to your discharge?
The willingness of your creditor to object to your bankruptcy discharge can have a major effect on the discharge itself. For example, if a gambling debt was incurred just before filing bankruptcy or was charged to a credit card, it is more likely to be challenged.

Remember:  You must disclose any gambling debts in your bankruptcy case—regardless of their chances of discharge—or risk dismissal of your bankruptcy case.

As a result of these nuances and intricacies of dealing with gambling debt in bankruptcy, it is essential to begin the bankruptcy process with an experienced bankruptcy attorney that knows the ins and outs of the bankruptcy process and can assist you throughout your case. Contact the Law Offices of John T. Orcutt in North Carolina TODAY for a totally FREE debt consultation. Just call toll free to 1-888-234-4181, or make your appointment online at www.billsbills.com. Simply click on the yellow “FREE Consultation Now” button.

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