Second-in-line for the throne Prince William has told grieving parents of a man who took his life due to gambling addition, of his concerns over betting sponsorships on football shirts.
Jack Ritchie, who took his own life in 2017 after struggling with gambling addition, was the driving force behind the creation of charitable organisation Gambling with Lives.
Liz and Charles, Jack’s parents, set up the support network for bereaved families, similar to theirs, who had been affected by the devastating effects of gambling disorders.
As a result of their efforts, the pair were awarded MBEs from Prince William at Windsor Castle in 2018.
Prince William is the figurehead President of the FA and an avid Aston Villa fan. However, following his beloved club’s decision to pen a three-year partnership with gambling platform BK8, he recently expressed his concerns to Liz and Charles Ritchie.
“He made it very clear that he didn’t approve of the sponsorship,” Ms Ritchie said.
“He said he didn’t feel he could offer us congratulations wholeheartedly because the work that we did followed on from the death of our son.”
In April of this year, Premier League clubs agreed to remove gambling and betting sponsorships on football shirts, starting with the front of the jersey.
This won’t come into effect until after the 2025/26, and clubs are free to pursue new partnerships in the meantime.
Gambling brands can also feature in other areas indefinitely, including, but not limited to, shirt sleeves and on advertising hoardings.
The government recently published their long-waited Gambling White Paper, which outlined a host of new measures to try and combat the growing gambling addition levels in the UK.
It was largely met with praise from charitable organisations and advocates, but Ms Ritchie believes it won’t come quick enough to save lives being lost at this moment in time.
“It will be another two years before any of these changes are implemented. In that time, another 1,000 young people would have died.”