Gambling with Lives Offers Touching Letter to PM Rishi Sunak, Asking for Reform

Gambling with Lives (GWL), the community-made of families bereaved by gambling-related suicide that offers support and raises awareness of the effects of gambling disorders has taken one step forward toward its goal. GWL has offered UK’s prime minister Rishi Sunak a touching letter signed by six grieving mothers who have lost their children because of gambling-related suicide.

The six mothers who signed the touching letter handed it down to PM Sunak at Downing Street, in the presence of leading reformist Sir Iain Duncan Smith. They all demanded that the gambling industry would stop getting involved in controlling the research, education, or treatment of problem gambling in the country. 

GWL Asks for a “Total Overhaul of UK’s Gambling System”

GWL has not stopped its high-coverage campaign that asks for the complete overhaul of the gambling system in the UK that currently enables operators to decide how “information, research, education, and treatment” are offered or presented to the public in relation to gambling harms. 

GWL’s campaign requires drastic measures to be taken for tightening operators’ compliance demands in relation to online casino bets, as well as advertising bans and player affordability checks. All these measures are currently being considered by the government’s Gambling Review.

The community that campaigns for change also believes the UK government should get involved in gambling-related research, education, and treatment (RET) disciplines, preventing them from having any ties with the industry itself. GWL took the opportunity of meeting with PM Sunak to reinstate that bereaved families ask for a statutory levy to be introduced on gambling industry profits. They are also asking for this statutory levy to be managed by an independent board ruled by the Department of Health and also to pay for independent information, research, treatment, and education.” 

Industry leaders together with the Betting & Gaming Council have said that the industry does not have any say on RET matters and that these are supervised by GambleAware. However, the six mothers’ letters clearly explained how their children were “misled by the gambling-industry-controlled narrative” while asking for the government to stop this narrative and save lives.

According to the GWL, every day a person takes their own life in the UK because of gambling, with over 400 such suicides taking place every year. Moreover, over 55,000 children are addicted to gambling in the UK at the moment. £1.5 billion ($1.83 billion) are pumped into gambling advertising each year, while 86% of gross online betting profits come from 5% of customers who are addicted or at high risk of addiction. 

Allegedly, PM Sunak has decided to settle the Gambling Review and ask for unity on implementing measures like mandatory £2/£5 ($2.46/$6.15) stake limits on casino games, credit checks, and stricter underage checks at online platforms. In September, GWL announced it would launch a new youth education program.