Does gambling affect your credit score?

If you gamble, and you’re worried that it could be showing up on your credit report, here are the facts.

Since 14 April 2020, you’re no longer able to use a credit card to gamble in the UK. However, gambling can still affect your ability to borrow money and can have an indirect impact on your credit score.

Will gambling be visible on my credit file?

It’s highly unlikely. Your credit report doesn’t contain information on what you bought and where you bought it. You can see what lenders see by getting to know your own credit report.

The act of gambling in itself isn’t enough to affect your credit report or credit score. After all, your credit report is an assessment of your ability to comfortably pay back a loan. It doesn’t exist to record or make judgements about how you spend the money you have.

However, while gambling transactions won’t be visible in your credit report, they’ll be visible in your bank statements, which mortgage lenders do like to go through when weighing up an application.

Similarly, a number of credit card or loan issuers will now request to see your current account transactions using open banking when considering an application you’ve made.

Once again, prospective lenders may be absolutely fine with seeing the odd flutter in your transaction history, but they’re likely to be put off if you’re making frequent or disproportionately large transfers to betting sites, especially if you’re doing this instead of spending the money in other areas, such as credit repayments or utility bills.

Some people use a separate account from their main current account to fund gambling payments, but this doesn’t guarantee discretion and you should still gamble responsibly if this is something you’re considering.

Credit cards and gambling

Historical credit card payments to casinos or betting sites won’t be identifiable as such in your credit report, and because it’s become illegal for gambling businesses to take credit card payments for bets, you can no longer fund gambling in this way.

However, despite the ban, there are ways for a credit card to be indirectly used to fund gambling. With a money transfer credit card, for example, you could send money from your credit card to your current account and then transfer from there to an account held with a betting site.

Alternatively, you might fund day-to-day purchases like groceries and transport with a credit card, freeing-up ready cash for gambling. Neither of these would be visible in your credit file.

If you withdraw cash from your credit card, nobody will know the purpose of that withdrawal, but it’ll be recorded as a “cash advance” in your credit report and is likely to hurt your credit score (you’ll also usually pay a fee plus a higher rate of interest on cash advances, so make sure you read your card’s terms if you were to do this).

Using credit to fund gambling is a bad idea and could lead to serious financial consequences. For example, if things don’t go your way and you find yourself in negative equity, you’ll still need to repay the full amount back to your credit card provider, potentially with interest too.

If you find yourself in this situation and you’re wanting to transfer your balance to a new credit card, the simple act of applying for a credit card also has a small (and usually short-lived) negative impact on your credit score, so you don’t want to be doing this more often than you need to.

Can you use credit cards for gambling?

No, since 14 April 2020, you can’t use a credit card to gamble as it’s against the law. However, If you have a credit card and use it to make payments at a casino that aren’t for gambling – e.g. buying drinks – then that would typically be considered to be a “cash advance” by your card issuer.

A cash advance is typically defined as using a credit card to withdraw cash, but it can also refer to “cash-like” transactions such as buying travel money, transferring money to a crypto exchange or making purchases at a casino.

Banks categorise transactions according to the “merchant category code” (MCC). Cash advances are recorded in your credit file and can actually hurt your credit score. They don’t look good to prospective lenders, which may see a credit card cash advance as indicating financial difficulties or bad financial judgement.

Will gambling affect my chances of getting a personal loan?

Gambling doesn’t directly affect your credit report or get recorded in it, however some lenders will want to look at your bank account transaction history to confirm your creditworthiness. This will either be done by requesting an open banking connection to your current account or through you showing your bank statements. These lenders may not offer a loan unless you authorise this. If they see frequent or large payments to betting sites or casinos, that could put them off.

There are also many side-effects of irresponsible gambling that can affect your chances of getting approved for a loan.

If gambling causes you to use your overdraft, this could affect your chances of being approved, particularly if it’s an unauthorised overdraft which can be expensive. Lenders will also consider how much credit you already have access to and how much of that you’re using, before approving a new loan.

The reality is that many compulsive gamblers open multiple credit card accounts to fund their habit indirectly, and this affects their ability to access further credit. This is often by using the credit card for other things, such as supermarket shopping, and using money from their current account to gamble.

Yet the problem worsens if you’re unable to pay off your balance before the end of the month. At this point, the debt cycle becomes hard to break and your credit score becomes worse and worse, especially if the gambling habit continues.

If you are having problems with gambling, there is help. The organisation GamCare runs the National Gambling Helpline (0808 8020 133).

However, if you gamble responsibly using your own money and otherwise have a decent credit score, there is no reason why gambling should affect your chances of getting a personal loan.

Will gambling affect my chances of getting a mortgage?

Mortgage lenders screen an applicant’s spending habits with far more detail than any other type of lender.

When applying for a mortgage, it’s common for the lender to request between 3 and 6 months of bank statements and assess your creditworthiness based on your payments. The lender will also conduct an interview about your spending habits.

If a lender sees outgoing payments to gambling companies, they could be put off from approving you as an individual responsible enough to make mortgage repayments. If you are found to have borrowed money to finance gambling payments, that is likely to be seen as an even bigger red flag. This could be borrowing through a credit card, personal loan, or even a payday loan.

This communicates that you’re an individual who prioritises gambling over responsibly paying back your debts and that you’re likely to gamble a lender’s money away in the future. Even if you’re found to have regularly transferred winnings back into your account, this might not be enough to sway their decision.

However if you are gambling responsibly and you have the money to make a bet (and potentially lose) a mortgage provider is unlikely to penalise you for gambling.

Gambling and your mortgage application



  • Gamble responsibly.
  • Gamble using cash where possible.
  • Only use money you’re happy losing.
  • Seek professional help if you suffer from gambling addiction.


  • Borrow money to gamble.
  • Apply for credit jointly with an irresponsible gambler
  • Use credit for gambling (indirectly).
  • Apply for a mortgage until your bank statements show responsible spending.

Example: John's loan application and his credit score

John used to really enjoy online poker. Although he didn’t consider himself an addict, he had used one of his 2 credit cards to support this habit within the last 3 months. He pays interest on outstanding debt from both of these cards.

Before he and his girlfriend made a joint mortgage application, they decided it would be beneficial to clear up John’s debts. Together, they helped clear John’s credit card debts and closed both accounts.

In the months leading up to their mortgage application, John stopped gambling online, so there was no proof of it on his most recent bank statements.

The couple believed that this would improve their chances of being approved for a good mortgage deal – and it did.

* This is a fictional, but realistic, example.

The bottom line

Gambling doesn’t show up in your credit report and won’t directly impact your credit score.

However, lenders, especially mortgage lenders, consider more than your credit report while assessing your creditworthiness. Therefore, (if you have to gamble at all) it’s worth only gambling with cash in the months leading up to a mortgage application.

You could alternatively use a separate account to fund your gambling, but this may be spotted by the bank weighing up your mortgage application.

A rising number of credit card and loan providers now use open banking to analyse your day-to-day banking transactions. This too could catch gambling transactions.

But gamble responsibly from time to time with small amounts, and it’s likely that the lenders wouldn’t mind even if they did spot it.

Read about how different factors can affect your score

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