UK Teenager Spent GBP 80,000 On Sports Betting

Expensive lesson in financial monitoring for father whose credit cards were pirated

Over the weekend several UK newspapers illustrated the dangers of underage gambling when they reported on the GBP 80,000 sports betting activities of a 13-year-old.

The unnamed Lancashire schoolboy was attracted to gambling by sports betting advertisements, and was able to open a sports betting account at an unidentified website using his father’s company credit cards, which he had photographed with his cellphone.

He told reporters that he found it easy to register and start betting, saying:

‘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.’

With his gambling spend at GBP 20,000 the teenager’s activities were discovered by his parents, who arranged for a psychotherapist intervention hoping this would cure his penchant for gambling, but after a short interval (and presumably still in possession of Dad’s card details) he resumed gambling, running up a further GBP 60,000 in gambling spend.

At one point he was betting GBP 3,000 on football matches and horse races, the newspapers report.

His parents are now faced with paying off the credit card debt, which has reportedly played havoc with the family’s finances.

The newspaper reports have conflated the story with UK Gambling Commission figures which reporters claim reveal that 25,000 minors aged 11 – 16 are addicted to gambling, and other reports that MPs are calling for tighter controls on gambling advertisements attractive to children.