Jack Ritchie took his own life on 22nd November 2017, aged just 24, as a direct result of gambling. Jack’s gambling addiction started by playing Fixed Odds Betting Terminals with a group of friends at a local bookies in his lunch time at school. Of course they were all underage - but they were never challenged. Jack was unfortunate in that he had a couple of very big wins in a single day, which probably affected his attitude to gambling forever. He later moved on to online gambling. He was always very outgoing, popular, bright, friendly and with no mental health problems other than his addiction to gambling. Jack was the epitome of “normal”, hugely enjoying his life at the time of his death and with a great future.

After struggling with his addiction for several years, Jack had been pretty much free of gambling for 18 months and hadn’t gambled at all for 5 months. For whatever reason, maybe a pop-up offer of “free bets” from a gambling site, he slipped back on 19th November and he took his life just 3 days later after a single day of intense gambling. While he had lost a fair amount of money over his life of gambling, he died with hardly any debt at all ... and even had money in another account. Jack was killed by gambling ... by what it had done to his heart and his head. He feared that he would never be able to be free of it and that he would continue to be targeted by a heartless and uncaring gambling industry.

The clear message from Jack’s death is that gambling is highly dangerous; it affects your mental health; it can kill.

His family and friends are determined that lessons must be learned from Jack’s death and that the gambling industry needs to be properly regulated. Everyone needs to acknowledge how dangerous and deliberately addictive their products are, with inevitable consequences for a substantial number of very normal and ordinary people. We have set up You Don’t Know Jack as a charity to raise awareness of the potentially lethal danger of gambling; to campaign for much stronger regulation; and to ensure that better treatment and support is available for gamblers, their families and friends.

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