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Can a chapter 7 bankruptcy be denied because of gambling?

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  • Can a chapter 7 bankruptcy be denied because of gambling?

    I have a gambling problem and probably the main reason why I need to file for bankruptcy. I stopped paying on all my credit cards about a year ago and I’ve had to deal with one lawsuit so far. My bankruptcy lawyer said I need to wait at least 6 months from the last time I gambled before I can file. He also said that didn't look good that I gambled the whole time while i had retained him as my lawyer but he never said anything to me about not gambling and i had it on my paperwork. I should've known better, though.

    I haven’t used any of the credit cards since I stopped paying on them. The gambling has been from my paychecks. Instead of fixing things or buying my prescriptions or other necessities, I gambled the money instead. Could this really be a problem regarding my bankruptcy if I recently gambled? I do want to try and stop gambling too but i just don't want to wait 6 months to file my case especially if more lawsuits come up.

  • #2
    Each case is just too fact specific. I had gambled and lost $13K. The Trustee did inquire and I told the Trustee that it was out of my system. Your problem will be... is it out of your system.
    Chapter 7 (No Asset/Non-Consumer) Filed (Pro Se) 7/08 (converted from Chapter 13 - 2/10)
    Status: (Auto) Discharged and Closed! 5/10
    Visit My BKForum Blog: justbroke's Blog

    I am not an attorney. Any advice provided is not legal advice.


    • #3
      I agree with JustBroke. I asked my attorney about how gambling could be viewed and his response was..gambling is really big in WA state and the number of cases where gambling has been involved is very high. The trustee is not shocked when he sees it. But as JustBroke says they want to know you are stopped or working on it, eg., joining GA.
      Filed Chapter 13 - 07/20/12
      Discharged 8/2/16


      • #4
        I was in the same boat as you. Didn't gamble with the CC money, but used CC money to cover expenses since I gambled much of MY money away every month. Made sure to declare the gambling losses from the last year (roughly $7k) on my statement of financial affairs, and no one has said a word. The trustee didn't even ask about it at the 341. Your case may be different, of course, but if the amounts are reasonably small you're unlikely to have a problem. By "reasonably small" I mean, "if you kept that money instead, would you be able to exempt it?"

        It's SUPER important to start breaking the habit during/after the BK, though, because if you get your discharge and continue gambling, you'll no longer have that safety net.
        This post does not constitute legal advice. If you use this advice instead of that of a lawyer, God help you.
        Filed CH 7: 5/11/17 341: 6/12/17 Discharge: 8/14/17


        • #5
          Thanks for all the replies. If I’m unable to stop on my own, maybe joining a group would be a good idea. Maybe that would help if I would need to file sooner if they see I’m getting help for the addiction?

          I think over the last year I probably lost about $10,000 or a bit more gambling. I received a small inheritance that I spent some of that as well gambling. It wasn’t a big amount and couldn’t really help me regarding any debts or major repairs I needed to have done so I ended being stupid and gambling some away and the rest was just used on monthly expenses.


          • #6
            I'm glad to see someone speaking so openly about this. Though I don't have anything of value to add, it helps knowing you're not alone...When I filled for C13 my Attorney was pretty straightforward and just said "You better show that you're working on it but for God's sake just stop!" It was harsh to hear at the time but sometimes you need those "hard to chew" words.


            • #7
              That sounds just like my attorney. He said something like that to me too. I have tried to stop on my own before but I wasn’t able to stick with it and went back to it so I think I will need to join a group for the extra support or I’ll continue to do this.


              • #8
                If your main problem is casino gambling, you can get on what's called the "self-exclusion list." Basically you go to your casino (or call/e-mail them) and ask to be put on the list. You will then be treated as if you have been banned from the property...if you show up there, you'll be cited for trespassing. Some states have a statewide list that covers all the casinos in the state. I'd recommend that *in addition* to group meetings or professional help. For me it's gone a long way. "Hey, I really wanna gamble, but I also really want to not get arrested for trespassing. Guess I'll catch a movie instead."
                This post does not constitute legal advice. If you use this advice instead of that of a lawyer, God help you.
                Filed CH 7: 5/11/17 341: 6/12/17 Discharge: 8/14/17


                • #9
                  Yep, casino is the main problem. Oh i didn't know about that--I'll have to check on that. Maybe i can see how things progress for me and I could use that as a last resort if I'm still struggling.


                  • #10
                    Gambling addiction is a disease. You can't stop, that's why it's a disease. To say otherwise is to assume an addict can turn their disease off using willpower. I've got over a million dollars of losses to addictions, of which gambling was indeed one. I was still gambling while in inpatient rehab for drugs to try and pay for rehab. And I promise you willpower isn't an issue in my life.

                    My advice is just be totally honest with your gambling, and let the truth speak for itself in your case. It's a common cause of BK. Don't sweat it.

                    The real issue is getting help. Post-discharge you better have yourself on a path to recovery, or why bother filing. Right?

                    I would start attending GA meetings. Print out a log sheet for 12-step group attendance, and get this log sheet signed by the GA facilitator. If you show up at your 341 with 60 GA meetings under your belt, it will show quite a bit if asked. And... it just might give you a real fresh start.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by brokelydia View Post
                      Yep, casino is the main problem. Oh i didn't know about that--I'll have to check on that. Maybe i can see how things progress for me and I could use that as a last resort if I'm still struggling.
                      I'd highly recommend it as a step forward, rather than a last resort. You can then apply for reinstatement later if you think you have things "under control"...though of course, if you have a true problem it will not be "under control" until you completely quit.

                      This post does not constitute legal advice. If you use this advice instead of that of a lawyer, God help you.
                      Filed CH 7: 5/11/17 341: 6/12/17 Discharge: 8/14/17


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