Betting can be fun, as long as you enjoy it responsibly. Betting may not show up on your credit report, but it can hurt your credit score. If you form a habit, it could throw your finances into havoc. Be sure to know your limits and stop when it stops being fun.

How betting works

In the UK you can legally bet on virtually any sports event, as well as other events with indeterminate results, such as politics. A bookmaker will set the odds of a match. This means they assess the probability of one team or competitor beating out the others, or one team or competitor losing. They will also work out the probability of a draw or tie. These odds are then used to calculate potential winnings.

For example, suppose Team A has 1 in 4 odds to win, but Team B has 8 in 1 odds to win. They have a 4 in 1 chance of drawing. If you stake £10, then if Team A wins, you receive £12.50. Should you bet that Team B wins, you receive £90. If the odds are 4 in 1 that the two teams will draw, that would return £50.

If the result you bet on doesn’t end up happening, you lose your stake.

Done responsibly, betting can be a fun way to add more thrill to watching a sports game, because you have a personal stake in your chosen team doing well.

However, there are many serious dangers with betting that you must be wary of.

The gambling addiction crisis

In recent years, gambling addiction has been hitting the headlines more and more.

Gambling taps into a part of the human brain that originally developed for the purposes of survival. When you make a bet and that bet wins, you feel euphoria. This is because your brain releases dopamine, a neurotransmitter often called a “reward chemical”. This is the same chemical released when eating good food, or engaging in other pleasurable activities.

However, there are ways of artificially stimulating the release of these chemicals – through abuse of drink and drugs, for example.

For these reasons, it has been said that gambling can be as addictive as heroin.

Indeed, the NHS has been forced to open units specifically targeted at treatment for compulsive gambling. Compulsive gambling is known to significantly worsen mental health.

While betting companies now show clear warnings and slogans in advertising, telling punters to be wary, around 0.5% of the British population – around 246,000 people – live with gambling addiction. In 2019, research by Warwick University found the warning messages do little to prevent compulsive gambling.

There have been calls for heavy regulation, if not outright bans. One of the most prominent proponents of gambling regulation is Matt Zarb-Cousin, a recovering gambling addict. However, we have a long way to go.

How betting can affect your creditworthiness

Betting doesn’t appear on your credit report, because it’s not a form of credit. It’s considered to be entertainment, a leisure activity. However, that doesn’t mean it can’t affect your chances of approval in other ways.

If you’re regularly betting more than you can afford to spend on bets, this can seriously impact your credit score, particularly if you’re racking up credit card debts by doing so. If you gamble in moderation, be sure to ensure that you’re only gambling what you can afford.

What’s more, lenders won’t just check your credit report. They’ll also check your income and outgoings. They do this by asking to see your bank statements. If they see a lot of bets on your bank statement, this may be a cause for alarm in the eyes of your lender.

Be sure to gamble only in moderation.

Does matched betting affect credit score?

“Matched betting” is the practice of taking free bets and incentives by bookmakers to generate profit. Proponents say it’s risk-free, and can help generate a bit of extra pocket money. However, it’s not without risk – you can misunderstand the terms of the bet and end up losing money, for example.

The short answer to whether matched betting affects credit score is no, it doesn’t. However, as outlined above, that doesn’t mean it can’t cause problems. If you apply for credit, lenders don’t just look at your credit score or your credit report. Even matched betting can turn up on a bank statement, so if you’re doing it a lot, consider easing off.

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