Tragic gambling-related suicide shows why our laws aren’t fit for purpose

According to the Daily Mail the Gambling Commission is to publish the conclusion of an 18-month long investigation into PT Entertainment Services, following the gambling-related suicide of one of its customers, Chris Bruney: a young man who was plied with inducements and bonuses from a so-called “VIP manager” to keep him gambling.

The outcome of this investigation has failed to deliver justice to a bereaved family. The regulator has consistently over-promised and under-delivered, often leaving vulnerable parents with more questions than answers.

The investigation was a frustrating ordeal, granting the Bruneys no meaningful oversight or engagement with the process, despite their son taking his own life as a consequence of the predatory behaviour of one of the Gambling Commission’s licensees.

The Gambling Commission’s failure to act quickly or decisively enough led to the operating license of PT Entertainment Services lapsing before the company, or those involved with it, could be properly held to account.

This regulatory framework, that aims to permit online gambling licenses with much greater ease than it rescinds them, is one that has created an ecosystem of ‘boiler room’ operators: unsustainable, unscrupulous and unconcerned by any threat of regulatory sanctions, as companies can simply close down operations before enforcement action might take place.

One of three objectives in the Gambling Act is to prevent harm to the young and vulnerable. The Gambling Commission has failed to uphold this, and it has failed to deliver justice to a bereaved family.

Through either its inability or its unwillingness to take action against this operator - and having saw fit to license it in the first place - the regulator has shown that it is not fit for purpose. A full review of our gambling laws must take place as soon as possible.