A 25-year-old gambler committed suicide after he lost £119,000 in the five days prior to his death, it has been revealed.
In 2017, Chris Bruney was an “Exclusive VIP” customer of the online casino Winner.co.uk, which tempted him with £4,500 in cash bonuses shortly before his death, despite the amount of money he was losing.
In his suicide note, Bruney said “it was the gambling” and that he “couldn’t go through it anymore”. A coroner ruled that he died in part from the “shame of gambling”.
After an 18-month investigation, the Gambling Commission concluded that there were “serious systemic failings” and, despite his losses, Bruney was never asked if he wished to stop gambling.
Playtech, the parent company of Winner.co.uk, initially escaped financial penalty as the online casino had closed down, but following a backlash agreed to pay out £3.5 million.
Adam Bradford, a columnist for The Daily Mail, warned: “There are few practical limits on how much you can lose on these apps and websites.”
He warned of the increased danger during the lockdown, saying “vulnerable individuals may be gambling away their lives in a doomed effort to offset their financial problems.”
Last year, a study found that people battling gambling addiction are 15 times more likely to commit suicide than those in the general population.
Academics at Lund University, Sweden, monitored more than 2,000 problem gamblers over an eleven year period – the largest study of its kind.
The risk for men aged between 20 and 49 was even higher, with suicide rates 19 times greater than the general population.