General Article Gambling with our health: why the stakes don’t get any higher

Topic Selected: Gambling

By Jacqui Thornton 

A pair of handsome male celebrities invite me to click on a game based on their TV show, next to five glamorous young women promoting blackjack, and surrounded by animated slots with names such as Mega Moolah, Lotsa Loot and King Cashalot.

Welcome to the world of online gambling, where shiny young people appear to bet together for fun.

A few clicks away, there are more images: photos of eight young men, full of personality; one at the beach, another on a country walk, one playing the trombone in a band. Below the pictures are their names, dates of birth – and death.

All these men died by suicide as a direct result of gambling, according to their parents who have come together and founded the charity Gambling With Lives.

The men were all normal, bright, popular and happy with great futures ahead of them. Gambling was their only problem. They had not necessarily racked up massive debts – though some had – it was the insidious nature of what gambling had done to the...

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