Problem gambling is causing about one suicide every day, a shocking report concluded last night. The House of Lords review found that betting blights the lives of two million Britons, with 50,000 children now hooked.
Around 300,000 people are addicted – each harming six loved ones through crime, domestic violence, family breakup and lost jobs.
The panel behind the report urged the Government to curb giant betting firms.
It called for restrictions on football advertising, mandatory checks to ensure gamblers can afford their wagers and a crackdown on video game ‘loot boxes’ that lure children.
Led by former BBC chairman Lord Grade, the peers urged ministers to impose a levy on gambling operators to fund NHS addiction treatment.
Rebecca Jones, 30, was left to bring up two children alone when husband Ben got three years in prison last November for stealing to fuel his gambling addiction
Stealing to feed habit led to jail
A midwife whose husband was jailed for stealing £370,000 to fuel his gambling addiction welcomed the call for tight new curbs on bookmakers.
Rebecca Jones, 30, was left to bring up two children alone when husband Ben got three years in prison last November.
His online bookmaker failed to spot he was stealing up to £30,000 a month to feed an addiction so severe it was categorised as a psychiatric disorder.
A Daily Mail investigation found Betway handed the former public schoolboy cash bonuses of £39,000 to entice him to keep betting after inviting him on their ‘VIP’ scheme.
Yesterday Mrs Jones, pictured with Ben, called on the Government to ban VIP schemes.
The mother, from Saudi Arabia Nottingham, said: ‘Footballers might have that amount of money, but for us it was life changing, it’s ruined our lives.’
In March Betway was fined a record £11.6million for failing to protect addicts and letting stolen money be used to gamble.
The firm said it would overhaul its VIP scheme and put in place tougher measures to protect players
They said they had heard ‘appalling’ stories of vulnerable people being targeted by betting firms, with customers feeling ‘groomed’.
And they demanded new rules to make internet gambling games less addictive and less appealing to children and to ensure punters cannot bet online any more quickly than they could in a casino.
Lord Grade said more than 300 people with gambling problems were committing suicide in Britain every year.
He is also concerned the gambling epidemic may have…