Gambling killed my husband . We must stop this predatory industry claiming more lives | Annie Ashton

Luke was targeted by adverts for ‘free bets’ to lure him back to gambling after he had quit. I’m campaigning to have this kind of marketing banned

This time last year, my husband Luke and I had everything we wanted: each other, a lovely house and two wonderful children. Three months later, this life was shattered. On 22 April 2021, my wonderful partner took his own life.

About two years before his death, Luke developed a gambling disorder. He started gambling with friends on a Saturday, placing bets at a local bookies while watching Leicester City, his football team. At the time, I didn’t think it was dangerous – I had no idea that gambling kills so many people.

Soon, Luke began to bet online. He opened multiple accounts, taking advantage of “free bets” – aggressive marketing offers used by online bookmakers to lure people into gambling. From there, he was encouraged to bet on sports, like horse racing, that he knew little about. It didn’t take long for him to get into a lot of debt and start chasing his losses.

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