We love March Madness time here in our office. This week, we’re enjoying some friendly competition as we all fill out brackets and see whose comes out on top. There may be a little trash talk here and there, but it’s all in fun.

However, for many people, March Madness isn’t as fun and is a more serious kind of game, and I’m not talking about the players and coaches who are actually competing. I’m talking about the people who gamble on sports. For those people, March Madness is a big event for them. It can go well, but sometimes it can be damaging to their life.

Statistics from the Nevada Gaming Commission place legal wagering on March Madness at $80 million to $90 million (sports betting is only legal in the states of Nevada, Delaware and Oregon).

However, sports gambling analyst Danny Sheridan estimates more than $7 billion is illegally wagered via brackets within offices, circles of friends, online betting and bets with campus or neighborhood bookies.

It’s even more alarming to find out that gambling rates among America’s teenagers and young adults is two to four times the adult rate while 4-7% of college students meet the criteria for pathological gambling. Research shows the younger a person begins to gamble, the more likely they are to develop a gambling problem.

That’s scary, folks. Sure, a few people win big on gambling, but many many more people seem to lose big. As people start forming gambling problems at a young age, they’re more likely to lose more and more money gambling, form habits and stay in debt to bad bets.

If you fall into debt from gambling, instead of gambling more in an attempt to bring yourself out of the hole, I urge that you consider another option – a bankruptcy.

By filing for bankruptcy, your debt can either be discharged through a Chapter 7 or lumped into an affordable 3-5 year repayment plan through a Chapter 13. After you’ve completed the bankruptcy, your slate is now clean of gambling debts and you have a fresh opportunity to re-establish and rebuild your credit the right way. To do this however, you need the right attitude and lifestyle changes, including giving up your gambling habits.

A bankruptcy law firm Memphis, TN trusts, like the team at Darrell Castle & Associates, can help manage the best timing for your case. We can’t help you with your gambling habits, but if you have trouble curbing your addiction, we advise you to seek professional help.

However, we can help you re-establish and rebuild your credit by offering you access to a great 14-week program called “7 Steps to a 720.” This program, which is free for our clients, will teach you how to rebuild your credit the right way.

If you have any questions or if you’re considering filing for bankruptcy, give us a call at (901) 327-2100 or contact us online. One of our experienced Memphis bankruptcy attorneys will be happy to speak with you about your situation, free of charge.