Our story

Gambling with Lives is a charity set up in 2018 by families bereaved by gambling-related suicide.

We support bereaved families, raise awareness of the devastating effects of gambling disorder, and campaign for change.

Gambling-related suicides in England every year – Public Health England

Our vision

A world free from gambling-related suicide.

Our mission

To support those bereaved by gambling-related suicide and to improve mental health and save lives through raising awareness of the risks to health posed by gambling.

In support of our mission we:

  • Support families who have been bereaved by gambling-related suicides 
  • Raise awareness of the dangerous effects of gambling on mental health & the high suicide risk
  • Campaign to reform the UK’s outdated gambling laws

Gambling with Lives runs a support service for bereaved families, and we are piloting an education programme for UK schools. We will soon be launching a gambling information and training project.

Liz Ritchie with Fran Green, Chris Bruney's former partner, and Judith, his mum.
Liz Ritchie with Fran Green, Chris Bruney’s former partner, and Judith, his mum.

Our background

Our co-founders, Liz and Charles Ritchie, lost their son Jack to gambling-related suicide in 2017 which led them to find and meet other bereaved families. Many of the loved ones lost to gambling were young, and for many gambling was the only challenge they faced.

Gambling with Lives’ campaigning has had a remarkable impact on the discourse surrounding the risks of gambling. Thanks to the efforts of bereaved families, the clear link between gambling disorder and suicide is now widely recognised, with gambling included in the government’s National Suicide Prevention Strategy for the first time, which was published in autumn 2023.

Also in 2023, Professor Sir Louis Appleby, Chair of the National Suicide Prevention Strategy Advisory Group, stated that gambling can be a dominant factor in suicide, without which a suicide would not have occurred, with the Samaritans supporting this view in a public statement.

Liz and Charles were both awarded MBEs in the 2023 New Year Honours List for their services to charity and bereaved families.

Liz and Charles Ritchie.

Our focus

Gambling with Lives is free of the gambling industry’s influence and we scrutinise the industry’s role in facilitating and sustaining gambling addiction. We challenge the gambling industry’s prevailing “responsible gambling” narrative which puts the responsibility to limit gambling harm on the individual and deflects attention away from the industry itself and its addictive products and predatory practices.

GwL families with members of The Big Step and Parliamentarians outside the Houses of Parliament.

Our values

Led by lived experience: We champion the voices of people with lived experience of gambling-related harm and ensure that lived experience is at the centre of our strategy, our programmes and our decision-making.  

Independent: We will never allow the gambling industry to influence us in any shape or form, and we hold similarly high expectations of our partners.

Determined: We will not be silenced or diverted from our efforts to achieve our vision of a world free from gambling-related suicide.

Evidence-based: Our strategy, activities and communications are always be based on the best available evidence.

Collaborative: Our voice is one of many and we believe that working in partnership allows us to best combat gambling harm. We will share our expertise and learn from that of our partners.

Caring: We practise empathy and kindness in our interactions with beneficiaries, each other, our partners, and those who disagree with us.