Is problem gambling leading to debt?

Former Premier League footballer Clarke Carlisle has opened up about his problem gambling in a bid to help others deal with similar problems.

The 41-year-old is supporting the latest phase of Lancashire and South Cumbria Health and Care Partnership’s Let’s Keep Talking campaign which focuses on problem gambling.

Being a compulsive gambler can harm your health and relationships and leave you in serious debt.

Have a listen to Clarke's story:

If you are in crisis and need help and support straight away you can:

  • call the mental health crisis line on 0800 953 0110,
  • dial 999 if you have harmed yourself.

For more information visit this crisis support page (link opens in a new window). Or you can call the Samaritans (link opens in a new window) on 116 123 from any phone at any time for free.


The UK has one of the biggest gambling markets in the world. Problem gambling not only harms the individual, but their families, friends and wider society.

In 2018, 24.5 million people in England gambled (54% of the adult population, or 40% when you exclude the National Lottery).

The North West (4.4%) and North East (4.9%) had the highest prevalence of at-risk gamblers.

  • Do you bet more than you can afford to lose?
  • Do you need to gamble with larger amounts of money to get the same feeling?
  • Have you tried to win back money you have lost (chasing losses)?
  • Have you borrowed money or sold anything to get money to gamble?
  • Have you wondered whether you have a problem with gambling?
  • Has your gambling caused you any health problems, including feelings of stress or anxiety?
  • Have other people criticised your betting or told you that you had a gambling problem (regardless of whether or not you thought it was true)?
  • Has your gambling caused any financial problems for you or your household?
  • Have you ever felt guilty about the way you gamble or what happens when you gamble?

Score 0 for each time you answer "never"
Score 1 for each time you answer "sometimes"
Score 2 for each time you answer "most of the time"
Score 3 for each time you answer "almost always"

If your total score is 8 or higher, you may be a problem gambler.


Help for problem gamblers

If you have a problem with gambling and you'd like to stop, support and treatment is available.

There's evidence that gambling can be successfully treated in the same way as other addictions. Cognitive behavioural therapy (opens in a new window) usually has the best results.

Treatment and support groups are available for people who want to stop gambling - have a look at the pages below:

Problematic Gambling - Beacon Counselling Trust (opens in a new window) - free counselling across lancashire and South Cumbria

Help for problem gambling - NHS (www.nhs.uk) (opens in a new window)

Get help with gambling problems - Citizens Advice (opens in a new window)

Are you struggling to pay the bills? Are money problems keeping you awake at night? Are you constantly worrying about money?

Dealing with money issues can sometimes be off-putting, but if you don't understand how things like credit or mortgages work, you could end up losing out financially or getting yourself deep in debt.

For support and advice when it comes to managing your money, visit Debt and money - Citizens Advice (opens in a new window) or click on the tabs below for debt advice and support in your area.

Most debt issues can be easily sorted out if you just reach out for help.


Emma Sylvester is a Debt Services Manager at Citizens Advice

  • Maximise your income - you may be entitled to benefits (opens in a new window) you didn't realise you were entitled to.
  • Apply for a Warm Home Discount (opens in a new window).
  • Use your local foodbanks - they are there to support you. This then frees up money for rent, gas, electric and other essential bills.
  • Try to budget your income - break down a monthly income into weekly amounts, use envelopes/jam jars to add money in each week towards larger costs.
  • Buy marked down food at the end of the day in supermarkets and batch cook and freeze for days later in the month when money is tight.
  • Turn your thermostat down just a few degrees - this saves money when using a meter.
  • Consider investing in a heated blanket - easier and cheaper to keep warm for pence instead of pounds.
  • On the day you get paid, fill up the car with fuel, top up meters, buy a large food shop and batch cook. Pay any outstanding priorities before paying anything else. If you run out of money then at least you have the important essentials your family needs.

Bankruptcy Advice Online

Provider of information and guidance on bankruptcy, debt and debt solutions.

Contact number: 0800 564 2211

Bankruptcy Advice Online website (opens in a new window) 

Email Bankruptcy Advice Online 

Citizens Advice

Telephone and face to face support for Signposting, debt, welfare. 

Contact number: 03444 111 444

Citizens Advice Website (opens in a new window)

IVAorg CIC (not-for-profit, free debt help and advice)

Advice, help and support to complete an Individual Voluntary Agreement (IVA) to reduce debt. 

Contact number: 0800 856 8569

IVAorg CIC website (opens in a new window)

Email IVAorg CIC

Mortgage Advice

A guide to mortgage payment holidays during the effects of coronavirus

Mortgage Advice website (opens in a new window) 

National Debt Line 

Debt advice and support. 

Contact number: 0808 808 4000

National Debt Line website (opens in a new window).

Barrow Citizens Advice Bureau

Debt support. 

Contact number: 01229 830367

Barrow Citiziens Advice Bureau website (opens in a new window)

Benefit Advice Service 

For residents of Carlisle and District requiring welfare and benefit advice. 

Contact number: 01228 817400

Benefit Advice Service website (opens in a new window) 

Email Benefit Advice Service 

​​​​South Lakes Citizens Advice Bureau

Debt Support. 

Contact number: 03444 111 444

South Lakes Citizens Advice Bureau website (opens in a new window).

Christians Against Poverty

Support and Advice

Contact number: 0800 328 0006

Christians Against Poverty website (opens in a new window) 

Shelter - Blackburn debt project

Debt and Welfare support. 

Contact number: 0344 515 1831

Shelter Blackburn website (opens in a new window)

West Lancashire Debt Advice

Free, face to face (currently only accepting phone, email and text enquiries due to Covid) debt advice service set up by Churches Together in Ormskirk.

Contact number: 07731 482120

West Lancashire Debt Advice website (opens in a new window)

Email West Lancashire Debt Advice.

Lancashire Women

Free, Lancashire-wide support on anything from budgeting, energy advice, debt, and more.

Money, Benefits and Debt Advice | Lancashire Women (opens in a new window) 

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