Due to a variety of factors including unemployment, under-employment, government overspending and accumulated debt, homeowners across international lines are struggling to pay their mortgage—many of whom bought their home under unfavorable terms.

For those homeowners who are facing foreclosure, many are turning to their banks to try and restructure their mortgage at a lower interest rate—but if you are a frequent online gambler in Ireland and parts of the UK, however, a loan modification may not be an option.

Gamblers Branded with a Scarlet Letter

According to the Irish Examiner, banks in Ireland and parts of the UK are denying loan modification requests to anyone who frequents online gaming sites. When homeowners apply for a mortgage restructure, they must submit a pre-qualifying application that details recent transactions from their credit card and bank statements. If there are frequent online casino transactions on these statements, the bank is apt to decline the request.

“Lenders form a view that if the customer is struggling to pay their mortgage, they should be tightening their belts, and they consider gambling a non-essential activity and therefore should be one of the first social indulgences to be cut,” says Trevor Grant, CEO of Negotiate, a mortgage debt advisory firm.

Gambling as Entertainment?

However, there seems to be a fine line between what is considered bank-acceptable entertainment, and what is not. If someone is struggling to pay their mortgage, they should absolutely cut down on non-essential spending. But if a homeowner has transactions on his/her bank statement that show they frequent a steak house most Friday evenings, where they indulge in a $100 slice of Kobe beef, do banks turn a blind eye to this?

It can be argued that fine dining puts money back into the local economy, provides jobs, etc., but doesn’t online gaming provide jobs to programmers, provide income for gaming affiliates, and everyone involved pays taxes all around?

It should be noted that online gambling isn’t the only non-essential expense that is frowned upon by banks enlisted to help with a mortgage restructure. Other expenses include hefty cell phone bills, extensive cable packages, maid services and more. But fine dining, or even a round of 18 holes? Not on the list yet.

So what do you think? While online gambling is usually not cheap and it is definitely not essential, can it be considered a form of entertainment? Let us know in the comments below.

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