Ex-footballer’s warning that ethnic minorities are gambling’s biggest losers


A footballer whose wild bets cost him £500,000 and his marriage is calling for urgent help for the 1.5 million problem gamblers from ethnic minority backgrounds.

Ex-Stoke City player Tony Kelly, 56, has launched a pioneering scheme for young people.

He said he grew up in a Caribbean culture where gambling problems still have “a stigma and shame” attached to them.

Tony, who runs lobby group Red Card, said: “My main purpose is to get young people from our community not to be afraid and talk about gambling issues.”

Tony Kelly is leading a campaign to reduce the negative stigma around gambling in ethnic minority communities
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He said a study found 20% of people from ethnic minorities suffer gambling harm – higher than the 12% in white communities.

Tony is working with Kishan Patel, 23, who has submitted evidence to Parliament’s Gambling Act Review on harm in ethnic minority communities.

Profile portrait concentrated serious african man holding mobile phone in hands reading message, checking email, chatting in social networks. Indoor studio shot isolated on gray background
Parliament’s Gambling Act Review on harm in ethnic minority communities is looking at how different communities are affected (stock image of model)

Kishan, who runs the group TalkGen, said his late father’s gambling wreaked havoc on his family.

He fears the spread of betting apps just worsens the problem.

The campaigner said GPs should ask patients about gambling just as they routinely do about alcohol and smoking.

A government consultation on gambling reforms is running until the end of this month.

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The Gambling Commission, which regulates the industry, said: “If we see gambling companies failing to meet their responsibilities we will step in.

“We issued updated ­guidance recently, setting out the need for improved affordability checks, prevention of ­reverse withdrawals and restrictions on bonus offers.”

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