The parents of a gambling addict want the UK government held accountable for their son’s suicide, the Guardian reports.
Citing the European Convention on Human Rights, they argue the state did not inform the public of gambling’s dangers, appropriately fund addiction treatment, nor regulate the industry itself.
The Ritchies believe the government let companies conceal the health risks gambling poses, and failed to make them contribute to treatment efforts.
Although the Ritchies’ son Jack killed himself aged 24, roughly 55,000 children aged 11-16 are considered problem gamblers.
A UK Gambling Commission survey found 450,000 children had gambled in the past week—making it a more widespread activity than drug-taking, smoking, or drinking.
Last Monday, the first-ever NHS clinic for gambling-addicted children opened in London—with the NHS chief condemning how little the industry spends on helping addicts compared to its marketing budget.
However, digital gaming firms blame childhood addictions on poor parenting.
Who should be responsible for addressing underage gambling addiction?