There is a wonderful resource in the form of the National
Council on Problem Gambling website, whose homepage is here:
On that site is an extensive and detailed (nearly 2.7MB!) PDF
document titled, 'Problem Gamblers and Their Finances - A Guide
for Treatment Professionals', which covers every possible idea
about interventions for this condition.
I'll post a few excerpts from this handbook, but since it is
copyrighted (© 2000 National Endowment for Financial Education),
I can post only a limited amount. Nonetheless, it is freely
I worked in the field of mental health for 25+ years, and one
somber note of caution which should not be lightly dismissed is:
A spouse, partner, or close loved one should NEVER restrict
or cut off the gambler?s access to a household?s financial
resources if there is any fear that the gambler will become
physically or emotionally abusive in an effort to obtain
money. Desperate gamblers have assaulted spouses, partners,
or other loved ones. Some have committed murder. Gamblers
sometimes threaten suicide if they don?t get the money, or
use the children as ransom."
Page 28, numbered at the bottom of the page.
From that page on, it goes into exquisite detail on every
imaginable consideration for handling the finances of the
"The problem gambler should be encouraged to
close the accounts for all credit cards on which the
gambler signs. This includes jointly owned cards
and cards used for work. Advise the gambler or
loved one to obtain written confirmation of all
closures. If a credit card is necessary, the nongambling
individual may want to open a new account in his or
her name only. However, since gambling households
commonly are experiencing financial difficulties,
the nongambling spouse may want to delay obtaining
a new credit card until the household finances have
Suggest to the problem gambler that he or she
agree to live on a set cash amount each week. The
nongambler would administer this amount. The
cash sum should be sufficient for items such as
coffee, snacks, or other common out-of-pocket
needs. The gambler should track even these small
expenses and account for the money to the loved
one before the next week?s cash is paid.
Legal Transfer of Assets
Experts often recommend that the gambler transfer
legal ownership of some, or even all, of his or her
assets to a nongambler. This can raise problems in
the event of divorce, separation, physical or mental
incapacity, death, or if the nongambler is not a
spouse, but it may be a necessary action.
The following are suggestions for ways to transfer
ownership or otherwise restrict the gambler?s access
to the household?s financial resources. Just which
strategies should be implemented depends on the
individual gambler, his or her unique financial
situation, and family obligations. Encourage the
gambler to talk over these possible strategies with
a lawyer or financial planner before taking action.
Make the gambler aware that he or she could
transfer ownership of assets by taking the following
- Close all joint checking, savings, and investment
accounts and reopen them in the sole name of
the nongambler spouse, partner, or relative. This
should be done even with accounts that currently
require dual signatures. (Some gamblers will
- All paychecks, pension payments, and other
income should be automatically deposited in
these accounts whenever possible. However,
Social Security payments cannot be automatically
deposited in accounts that don?t contain
the name of the recipient."
Page 29, numbered at the bottom of the page.
From the Table of Contents, here's a complete list
of the financial topics covered:
"How to Work Financially With the Problem Gambler
Identifying Assets and Sources of Income
Sources of Income
The Gambler's 'Stash'
The Monitoring that a Loved One Might Do
Creating a Realistic Spending Plan
Tips on Cutting Expenses
Additional Budgeting Tips
Budgeting Monies for Gambling Treatment
Limiting the Gambler's Access to Money
Establish Controls for Paying Household Bills
Legal Transfer of Assets
The Use of Trusts
Problems and Risks of Shifting Ownership
Large Sums of Money
Mortgage Refinancing or Home Equity Loans
Traditional Pension Plan
Investment Accounts (Nonretirement)
Repaying Gambling Debts
Determine Amount of Debt and List Creditors
Establish a Debt Repayment Plan
Declaring Bankruptcy Is a Last Resort
Being Alert to Life Events
Working with Family Members
Wall Street as Riverboat Gambling?
Warning Signs of an Investment Gambling Problem
Pros and Cons of the Gambler as 'Investor'"
PDF files require the Adobe Reader to open the files.
If you don't already have the Adobe Reader installed
on your computer, you can download it for free here:
I'm sure you'll find the rest of this booklet to be
of equal value in addressing your friend's situation,
but if you have any questions, please post a Request
for Clarification before rating the answer.
Additional information may be found from an exploration of
the links resulting from the Google searches outlined below.
Searches done, via Google:
"gambling addiction" restrict access to funds credit
Clarification of Answer by
30 Oct 2006 14:08 PST
I know of no way to lock a credit file in terms of absolutely
preventing a person from obtaining new credit.
There have been new credit-freeze laws adopted by several
states, but their purpose is to prevent identity theft by
denying businesses and creditors access to the credit file.
This might be helpful to some extent in reducing the
solicitation of new credit, since, without access to the
file, credit companies may be more reluctant to make offers.
The states which have passed or are considering these laws
are listed in the following article.
You can read about these credit-freeze laws in this article
on KeepMedia from The Kiplinger Retirement Report, which notes
that, in some states:
"...the right to lock a credit file is limited to consumers
who have been victims of identity theft and have reported
the theft to police."
Calling 888-5OPT-OUT (888-567-8688) can stop most unsolicited
credit card offers, per this page on Experian:
Also, as noted in the PDF file I referred you to, if the gambler
is married, a joint credit report can be set up and monitored by
the spouse. If unmarried, the gambler needs to provide a signed
release allowing a friend or loved one access to the credit report,
which can be monitored on a monthly basis.
Arranging for all of the gambler's mail to go through the friend
or loved one is another recommendation, and allows incoming mail
to be screened for credit offers. See the section titled, 'The
monitoring that a Loved One Might Do' on the numbered page 20:
I also explored the idea that filing Chapter 13 or Chapter 7
bankruptcy might limit the access to new credit. Apparently,
this is not the case, as noted on this page from the Moran Law
"Our experience is also that newly discharged debtors are
frequently solicited for new cards!"
I'm sorry I can't offer you more effective solutions in this
regard, but I hope this helps.
Searches done, via Google:
"lock a credit file"
"Chapter 13" "new credit"