Liz and Charles Ritchie, founders of the charity “Gambling with Life,” have been honored by the MBE for their work in combating gambling addiction and preventing suicide.
They met with Prince William at Windsor Castle, where he expressed his sympathy and agreement with their criticism of the sponsorship of bookmakers by soccer clubs.
A tragedy that changed lives
Liz and Charles Ritchie experienced a terrible loss in 2017 when their 24-year-old son Jack of Sheffield committed suicide. He suffered from a gambling addiction and spent all his money gambling online. Even though he was expelled from all local online casinos, Jack continued to gamble and was constantly finding new sites at www.twinspinca.com.
After his death, they decided to create an organization called Gambling with Life to help others in a similar situation and to bring the issue of gambling addiction and its consequences to the attention of society and the authorities.
They state that:
- Gambling is the cause of many suicides, especially among young people;
- the gambling industry uses “predatory” marketing techniques to attract and retain customers;
- bookmakers’ sponsorship of soccer jerseys promotes gambling among fans.
Prince William’s displeasure
Prince William, who is a fan of Aston Villa Football Club, shared his displeasure that the club has a three-year deal to sponsor T-shirts with the gambling platform BK8.
He also expressed his opinion that such deals should be banned as they have a negative impact on the image of soccer and public health.
Premier League clubs have now agreed to stop sponsoring gambling on the front of jerseys, but this change will not take effect until four years from now.
Liz and Charles Ritchie praised Prince William for his stance and said he “sincerely congratulated” them for their work.
Criticism of the government
The couple also expressed their disappointment in a white paper on gambling that the government released in April. They believe the document does not contain enough specific and effective measures to make gambling safer.
The paper proposes a number of restrictions on Internet gambling, such as:
- Checking the availability and age of players;
- Limits on bets in slot machines;
- A ban on the use of credit cards to pay for gambling.
But most of these measures require further consultation and will not be implemented anytime soon.
Liz and Charles Ritchie believe this is unacceptable because hundreds of young people die of gambling addiction every year of delay.
They urge the government to act faster and more decisively to save lives and families.
Liz and Charles Ritchie dedicated their MBEs to all those who have died from gambling addiction and their families.