Wiltshire

Swindon couple call for tighter gambling laws after son's suicide

Joshua Jones
Image caption Mr Jones attended specialised counselling sessions at London Gambling Clinic

The betting industry must take more responsibility for the impact gambling can have, say the parents of an addict who took his own life.

Joshua Jones was undergoing cognitive behavioural therapy for his gambling addiction but died aged 23.

Martin and Kim Jones say the industry is "making millions of pounds of profit on the backs of people's misery".

Gloucester MP Richard Graham has taken up their case and will now ask parliament to tighten gambling laws.

Mr Jones, from Swindon, said: "[The industry] needs to step up and take responsibility for its actions."

Image caption Mr Jones had found it difficult to manage his gambling addiction from the age of 17.

Mrs Jones said Joshua, who died in 2016 after sending his parents an email headed "panic stations", would use his phone to gamble online into the early hours of the morning.

Users can currently self-exclude themselves for six months at a time from a site if they fear they are losing control of their online gambling activity.

But Mrs Jones argued that addicts "are an addict for life" and once they have self-excluded themselves it should apply "for life" in order for such a step to be effective.

Image caption MP Richard Graham is due to address parliament this week

Mr Graham is due to address parliament this week to change current rules on access to online gambling sites and safeguard users who may be addicted.

"From all the gambling companies I want to see a one percent levy and that should fund around £100m a year to have really good independent research and actually contribute towards the cost of rehabilitation and getting people off addiction".

The Samaritans can be contacted free on 116 123, or use this link to access support services.

Related Topics

More on this story