Teenager loses £80,000 gambling online
A teenager in the UK has lost £80,000 by gambling online with his parents’ credit cards.
The boy, aged thirteen, claims he was influenced to gamble after seeing numerous adverts for gambling sites on TV and at football matches.
The youngster was able to bet online by stealing his Dad’s credit card information to register accounts online under his father’s identity.
After the initial small losses he began staking more and more, often up to £3,000 per bet. Within weeks he had gambled away around £20,000.
The losses were not discovered until six months later when the boy’s father’s bank called to raise the issue of the suspicious transactions.
The boy was forced by his parents to attend psychotherapy after admitting he was addicted to gambling.
But, despite undergoing a full treatment, just a few months later he went straight back to the online bookies. This time, during a gambling binge of around a week, he racked up losses of around £60,000.
Speaking to the Mirror under the promise of anonymity, the teenager said:
I had no idea that gambling could be an addiction like smoking, drinking or drugs. It seemed like fun and I thought I would make money too. It was just far too easy. I just had to put in dad’s name, address, date of birth and card details and checked a box saying I was 18 – it took literally seconds to register and start gambling.– Anonymous, Problem gambler.
Young people and gambling an increasing concern
The parents of the child say they can’t trust him again, while the relationship is forever affected.
But the news will place pressure firmly back on bookmakers. The ease of which the boy was able to assume his father’s identity raises serious questions about the industry’s Know Your Customer (KYC) and anti-fraud technology, which operators maintain is effective.
Advertising gambling products is also heavily under the spotlight of late. Recently, a cross-party group of MPs, together with research firm ResPublica, pushed to ban gambling ads during live sporting events and for adverts to adhere to a much stricter regulatory standard.
However, the focus will mostly be on the issue of young people and gambling. Gambling among those under 16 has steadily risen in recent years, with a third more 16 year olds gambling than three years ago. The Gambling Commission’s latest young people and gambling report found that around 25,000 children between the ages of 11 and 16 were problem gamblers.