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The simple fact that you like to gamble will not in itself be enough to affect your application however if you are taking out credit to gamble then this is likely to be a problem.
If you’re betting a few pounds of your spending money here and there, and you’re not taking out credit to do so, this is unlikely to have an impact. Underwriters – the people who effectively stand between you and your new home – want to assess your ability to comfortably service a loan. They’re not there to make any moral judgements on your spending habits.
Like gamblers, mortgage lenders have a set amount of funds available and don’t want to lose their money. They will look to avoid this by lending to applicants who represent the least risk. The select lenders who are willing to consider higher risk applicants will mitigate risk by charging higher interest rates and offering smaller sums.
Regulations introduced in 2014 and 2017 mean that lenders have to assess the affordability of a loan for an applicant in much closer detail than was previously required. Part of this process will be looking at the transactions on your bank statements. If a would-be lender sees regular outgoings to gambling companies, this is likely to make you a less appealing prospect than somebody who say, makes regular deposits into savings instead. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that if you often transfer winnings back into the account, that should reassure prospective mortgage providers – it won’t.
Perhaps most importantly, you should never borrow money to finance gambling. If you’re gambling while going into your overdraft, using transfers or cash advances from a credit card, or even applying for short-term loans then this tells lenders that you’re happy to effectively gamble with their money, and that you’re prioritising gambling over responsibly repaying debts. Using credit while gambling will be a major red flag to underwriters, and defaulting on any credit that you have could be worse still.
There are other factors worth considering too, such as the fact that a regular gambling habit will most likely mean you have less of a savings balance for a deposit, which in turn can have a negative impact on your application. Accruing a large amount of personal debt will also cast doubt in a lender’s mind about your ability to service a loan. In short, if your gambling causes problems with your finances, it could definitely cause a problem with your mortgage application.
If the money you spend on gambling represents a significant portion of your ongoing expenses, the lender or mortgage underwriter may be concerned that there is a higher chance of you getting into financial difficulties at some point in the future (after all, mortgages are long-term products) and being unable to keep up with repayments. In some cases, this could mean that your mortgage application is declined.
If you make a living by gambling, perhaps by working as professional poker player or spread betting, you will still be considered by many lenders.
For the most part, you will be assessed similarly to any other self-employed applicant.
You can definitely expect them to monitor the stability of your income and outgoings. The higher and more consistent your profits, the better. Applicants with a large deposit and healthy credit score will be looked upon favourably. Indeed, if you can show many years of consistent profits, this will look even better to lenders.
However, it’s common that the lender may also take extra steps to ensure that you’re a safe applicant to lend money to.
They may consider:
One factor which may harm many gambler’s applications is providing proof of income. Whereas most self-employed mortgage applicants can provide SA302 tax forms, professional gamblers are unlikely to have these. After all, gambling winnings are tax-free.
It can be difficult for professional gamblers to demonstrate a steady income without these forms, because their bank statements are typically flooded with an overwhelming amount of ins and outs. Ideally, they’ll document their profits themselves and be able to provide these calculations to the mortgage provider.
Provided you’re not borrowing money to fund your gambling, your credit score won’t be affected by it. After all, your credit report exists only to assess your ability to pay back a loan, not make moral judgments about how you spend your money. Learn more about gambling and your credit score. You can also check your credit score here.
If you are struggling to get a mortgage via the traditional methods you could speak to a specialist lender. They can provide the expertise on a particular area of lending where you’re looking for assistance.
We asked some of the UK’s major mortgage lenders about their policies on mortgage applicants with debts caused by gambling. Here is what they told us.
|Provider||What it told us||Compare|
|Barclays||We have no specific policy on this.||Compare with broker|
|Halifax/Lloyds Bank/Bank of Scotland||Where we become aware of gambling debts, such cases will be referred to our underwriting function to consider the ongoing sustainability of the mortgage.||Compare with broker|
|Virgin Money||All debts are considered as part of the applicant’s affordability assessment.||Compare with broker|
|Yorkshire Bank||Applicants with debts from gambling will still be considered.||Compare with broker|
So, there are various circumstances where gambling can present issues for mortgage applicants, and gambling is one of many factors that can affect your mortgage application.
With the proliferation of betting companies and the increasing opportunities for online gambling, this issue could become a much more significant obstacle to UK borrowers in coming years. If you do like a punt every now and then, make sure you take the necessary steps to prevent your gambling from affecting your mortgage application.
Gambling addiction is a serious personal problem that tends to lead to financial issues, so most importantly of all, if gambling is a problem for you, take action today and get the help you need to quit.
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