A promised review into our outdated gambling laws has been repeatedly delayed. We need action before more lives are lost
After my husband, Luke, took his life, I promised to take our son to watch every Leicester City FC home game. It had been a father and son tradition, and I wanted to carry it on. But every time we went, we couldn’t escape the gambling adverts around the stadium. The word “bet” was everywhere, flashing at us like a command. It was a reminder for my son of his dad’s gambling addiction, and I watched as he shrank into his seat. We have not been back.
Gambling adverts are everywhere – not just around football grounds and on players’ shirts, but on the radio and on the way to school, magnified on billboards, in magazine inserts, in so many TV ad breaks and all over the internet. There is nowhere to hide. The full normalisation of gambling as a fun and risk-free activity is completed by the long list of celebrities who front those ads. From José Mourinho claiming he’s “the Special One” because he won online, Ray Winstone bellowing at you to bang a bet on, and Keith Lemon offering you a so-called “free bet”, they are hard to ignore.