Gambling with Lives

Written by Professor Jim Orford on .

Gambling with Lives (GwL) is a new group started by the parents of a young man with a gambling addiction who committed suicide. They are naturally grief stricken but also very angry at the way they believe their son was, in their words, groomed and targeted by the online gambling industry, and at the Government which is doing so little about this. They described their son's addiction to Dominic Lawson whose extensive piece about this appeared in the Daily Mail on June 25th. Reading it will make you distressed and angry too.

They have been joined by others who have experienced the same kind of tragic bereavements through gambling. In fact they have looked at what research there is on gambling and suicide, and have estimated that somewhere between 250 and 650 suicides each year in the UK may be gambling-related. The GwL website is and they would like to hear from others affected by gambling-related suicide at

GwL’s stated priorities are: raising awareness of the potentially fatal consequences of gambling; the £2 maximum stake on FOBTs to be implemented NOW and for £2 to be the maximum stake for all online slot and casino betting; gambling to be seen as a public health issue; the industry levy to be greatly increased to 1% of gross profits; NHS treatment to be hugely increased and to include support for families. Gambling Watch UK agrees with all of those aims and strongly supports GwL.

People in this conversation

Comments (2)

  • Ian Harmer Permalink

    It seems from media coverage in recent years that the Gambling Commission is in essence a rubber stamp for the industry that funds it. It does nothing whatever to oversee gambling operations in the UK, relying instead on information from outside sources before taking action. The problem is that the GC is fully funded to the tune of more than £20m a year by the operators it pretends to regulate, and spends every penny of its income on staff salaries and pensions. Anyone doubting the pro-industry bias of the GC should take a look at the report on FOBT use that has been on its website for almost two years. This "report" is actually a fabricated set of statistics intended to "prove" that controls introduced by licensees dramatically reduced high-stakes betting on these casino machines. Problematically, the same industry proudly published data showing increased profits from FOBTs in the same study period. (

    about 1 year ago
  • Alex Permalink

    Ian, this is so very true. Over the past year or so I've been looking into the industry and the GC. After some initial dialogue with them I had instant suspicions about their impartiality and once I read the report you've mentioned above, it was so very clear. I found it utterly disgusting that they tried to stop the £2 minimum stake and it was only due to a public backlash that the government were forced to instigate the move. With my communications with the GC, I asked them why the body that is meant to protect vulnerable people got overruled by the government. As always, their responses to me were very wishy-washy. I'm really looking forward to how they intend to deal with my most recent communications to them, I've asked some very awkward questions to them. The lift is going to start to be lifted!

    about 1 year ago

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Sunday, December 08, 2019
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Opportunities for gambling in Britain have increased very considerably in the last 20 years and were given further encouragement with the passing of the 2005 Gambling Act. The latest British Gambling Prevalence Survey, carried out in 2009/10, found that between one third and one half a million British adults experienced a gambling problem in the previous 12 months.
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