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From Bets to Debts: A Client's Struggle with Gambling Debts

Debt can quickly spiral out of control, causing financial and emotional distress. In this interview, we speak with James, a 45-year-old Sales Director who found himself trapped in a web of debt due to his gambling addiction. With the help of Credit Counselling Singapore (CCS), James embarked on a journey of redemption, sharing his experiences and offering advice to others facing similar challenges.


CCS : How did using credit cards got you into a problem of debt?

James : I lost a total of about $1 million plus at the casino. I had to withdrew funds from credit cards to cover my gambling losses. The amount of credit I used was so much that I found that I could not afford to pay even just the interest. My debt quickly accumulated. I even had to borrow from licensed moneylenders as I reached my credit limit and could no longer borrow from banks.

It all started due to my work. I had to entertain clients including bringing them to visit the casino in Singapore. I also joined in to try my luck at playing the Roulette At first, I was happy when I placed bets and won. This led to me to visit the casino on my own during my spare time, placing bigger bets and hoping to win more money. Sometimes I won. Most of the time, I lost.

Unfortunately, the final tally was that I accumulated a loss of over $1 million over a period of 4 to 5 years before I finally stopped. 


CCS: What did you do when you realise that you needed to stop?

James: I felt a deep sense of regret and remorse. My gambling losses had led me to accumulate an enormous amount of credit card debt, leaving me in a dire financial situation.

I thought I could turn to my friends and family for help. While my friends couldn't provide financial assistance, my family offered some support.

I had to sell my HDB flat in the hopes of reducing my debt. However, as a portion of the sale proceeds had to be returned to my CPF account, I had lesser than what I had hoped to reduce my overall debt.


CCS: How did you find out about CCS?

James: I came across CCS on social media and decided to reach out to them for help. The credit counselling session I attended played a crucial role in helping me draw up a budget and work out a repayment plan. Being on the Debt Management Programme helped me to prioritise my payments towards debt repayment by sticking to my budget.

Additionally, my counsellor recommended that I attend gambling addiction counselling and apply for a casino exclusion order to prevent further temptation.


CCS: Do you look forward to the day you complete your Debt Management Programme?

James: Oh yes, for sure. Though I haven't made any concrete plans as to what I would do once I have paid off my debts. However, I may consider buying my own house, since I am currently renting.


CCS: Please share a word of advice for people facing a debt problem.

James: I urge anyone facing a debt problem not to hesitate in seeking help from CCS. Their Debt Management Program has been very helpful for people in similar situations to help resolve debt issues. Remember, reaching out for support is the first step towards reclaiming control over your financial situation.



James's story serves as a powerful reminder that even in the face of overwhelming debt, there is hope for to bounce back.

With the support of CCS credit counsellors, the debt servicing and support team, plus a steadfast commitment to change, anyone can find their way out of a financial crisis.

The constant message that resonates in all our stories that we have shared over the past months, is this:
Don't let pride or shame prevent you from seeking assistance when you need it most. The path to financial recovery starts with reaching out for help. We at CCS stand ready and committed to guide you every step of the way.

We would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to our clients who have shown tremendous courage, overcoming their vulnerabilities by sharing their personal stories with us. Their willingness to open their hearts and share their experiences serves as an inspiration to all of us.

An interview with a CCS Client – This is the twelfth of a series of interviews conducted with Credit Counselling Singapore’s (CCS) counselled clients on our Debt Management Programme. 

Profile of the client is presented based at the time the person approached CCS for assistance, which could be as recent as a few months ago or several years ago.  Name of the interviewed client has been changed. 

These interviews will be published on the 3rd Friday of the month.

Credit Counselling Singapore

Published 16 June 2023.