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Report says problem gamblers average $38,000 in debt

It's true that many people gamble a little bit -- buying a lottery ticket when the payout hits a historic high, for instance, or going to the casino at a vacation resort -- and don't run into serious issues. However, for those considered "problem gamblers," a new report claims they average $38,000 in debt.

You can buy a new car for $38,000, so this is a significant amount of debt. The report claims they have often maxed out all of their credit cards to keep on gambling, perhaps after draining their savings accounts. Some have even stolen from friends and family members or lied to them to borrow money.

To get an idea of just how many people are in dire straights because of gambling, the Wisconsin Council on Problem Gambling put out the data on phone calls that were made to their helpline. In 2014, there were 14,690 calls. Last year, in 2016, there were another 13,081 calls.

These calls can be made by family members. For example, one man from northeast Wisconsin placed a call, saying that his sister had tried to take her own life multiple times because she had maxed out 10 credit cards and was facing $100,000 in debt. She had taken out payday loans and a lien had been placed on her vehicle.

These debt situations are more serious than many people realize, and it's important for those who are trying to right the ship and find financial freedom to know what options they have. In some cases, that could include filing for bankruptcy to wipe the slate clean.

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