Online Gambling Might Spoil UK Punters’ Chances of Getting Home Loans

British banks have begun taking into consideration exactly how much mortgage applicants spend on online and mobile betting activities before approving their applications, as recently conducted surveys show that problem gambling is on the rise in the UK.

Online and mobile betting is getting more popular than ever, with bookies predicting that the Olympics and Euro 2012 will generate more betting activities than ever. The betting industry has changed a great deal following the Beijing Olympics, and today, punters can wager on their smartphones on almost every sports activity.

Placing bets online or through mobile phones is more convenient, but traces of one’s betting activities easily become visible on credit card statements and deposit accounts, making things very difficult for bettors long after the Olympic fever subsides, especially if they want to apply for a mortgage.

Lenders are now showing great interest on mortgage applicants’ betting habits, with some of them conducting a thorough investigation of account statements. Lenders have realized that credit history reports relate only half the story. Barclays, Royal Bank of Scotland, Nationwide, Lloyds TSB, Halifax, Santander, and Yorkshire Building Society have already declared that they will check account statements to find out about applicants’ betting habits.

David Hollingworth, a mortgage broker, said,

We have seen instances where evidence of regular gambling can have a negative impact on a client’s mortgage application. It could prove to be a contributory factor to an application failing if the lender is worried about the borrower’s ability to manage their finances. Alternatively, it could be seen as a regular outgoing, and therefore reduce the amount that the lender will offer.

A Barclays spokesperson says that it routinely reviews spending patterns reflected on account statements as soon as it receives mortgage applications.

Should that review highlight a possible problem with gambling of any type then that may have an effect. The odd debit here and there is not going to be a problem.

The Money Advice Trust, which works with researchers at University of Bristol, said that evidence has shown long-term gains for both banks and customers if banks can identify problem cases well in advance and work with them. However, it does not really approve of banks judging credit worthiness on the basis of what customer’s spend their cash on. Paul Crayston of the trust said,

What really matters is whether or not a borrower can clearly afford any repayments on credit.

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