Boy, 13, blew £80,000 gambling online with his dad’s credit card

BMR Tony

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A 13-year-old boy blew £80,000 on online gambling after seeing ads for bookies at a football match at Wembley. The youngster became addicted to gambling and described his desire to bet as a ‘monster’ calling him back.

His addiction led to his parents needing to take out loans, while his father’s company was forced to make redundancies as a result. In an interview with the Mirror, the now-15-year-old boy from Lancashire, whose identity has not been disclosed, spoke out about his addiction. He 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.’ He has spoken out with the backing of his parents, with the family saying they want to warn others about the dangers of online gambling, even for young children.

At one point, the boy lost £60,000 in just a week when his parents thought he had kicked the habit. It started when he went to Wembley with his father, saw the adverts for betting and overheard older men boasting about their wins. The youngster secretly took a photo of his dad’s card and later used it to carry out the extensive credit card.

He started off making £5 and £10 bets – but the stakes continued to rise, leading to losses of £20,000 within six months and a confrontation from his parents. The boy confessed to what happened and underwent psychotherapy, with his parents believing the treatment had cured his addiction. But five months later he went on the week-long gambling binge and lost an eye-watering £60,000. He said: ‘I am sorry for what I have done. I feel like I’ve ruined everything and our lives will never be the same again.’

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As much as parents love their kids obviously, I'd want to kick his arse from here to the moon and back. Although I've never supported it, I can now more understand the argument we have here about whether sportsbooks should be allowed to advertise at sporting events. I guess kids even that age really are paying attention to it.