Philip Tomlinson

Philip was a gentle and kind boy who dreamed of becoming a firefighter one day. He came from a loving family and had lots of friends. Philip loved sports, particularly golf and football – his team was Manchester United.

After passing his exams, Philip went to college and took a part-time job at a supermarket, where he quickly progressed. He put his dream of becoming a firefighter on hold for a time when he was offered a full-time manager’s position at the supermarket. Philip really was the life and soul of the party, he was an amazing young man loved by everyone.

Philip started gambling, like many of his friends, on football. But after started gambling on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) and then on online casino games he developed gambling disorder.

Philip tried to get help and to stop gambling, and his girlfriend and family truly believed he had turned a corner.  However, gambling then consumed the money saved for a trip to see the Northern Lights and his girlfriend ended their relationship.  His family didn’t know that he was receiving a constant stream of contacts by phone, email and post offering free bets and inducements to keep him gambling.  He was signed off work with a knee problem, the online gambling pulled him in more and his gambling disorder worsened.  He sold many of his possessions, including his precious golf clubs, to pay payday loans.

On the day he took his life, he was due to go back to work and appeared to be getting back to his normal self.  Philip was only 29 when he ended his life in 2017.  His sister was pregnant at the time and gave her son the middle name ‘Philip’ in memory of her beloved and much-missed brother.

Philip talked about gambling in his suicide note saying that it was his “biggest regret”. At his inquest, the coroner said: “This is a case where the message should go out that gambling is as punishing and fatal as other addictions and can bring nothing but misery and tragically, death.”

Philip’s parents, Phil and Kindal, have been active members of Gambling with Lives from the start and were part of the successful campaign to lower the maximum FOBT stake from £100 to £2 in 2019. They are also calling for much tighter regulation around gambling advertising and sponsorship in football.

They continue to campaign and raise awareness of the risks of gambling in the hope that they can prevent other families from experiencing the same tragic loss.