PCC and Coventry footballer call for change to tackle problem gamblers - The Solihull Observer

PCC and Coventry footballer call for change to tackle problem gamblers

Solihull Editorial 13th Jan, 2024   0

WEST Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Foster has joined forces with a former professional footballer and recovering gambling addict to call on payday lenders to stop lending money to people with a gambling addiction.

Mr Foster, alongside his Assistant PCC Tom McNeil, and Coventry born footballer Tony Kelly, who used to play for Stoke City and Bristol City, all agree that lending gambling addicts big sums of money at extortionate interest rates is simply exploiting vulnerable people.

Tony lost £300,000 during a nine-year period and during that time he was allowed to borrow from payday lenders, despite already being in significant debt.

Now Tony Kelly, Simon Foster and Tom McNeil are coming together to campaign for change.

Mr Foster, said: “We need to recognise that problem gambling is fuelling crime.

“That’s why we are calling on the banking sector to act now.




“Payday lenders, especially, must stop lending cash to people who have a gambling addiction that has crippled their finances. This practice is fuelling crime and costing our region millions of pounds.

“We will also be expecting West Midlands Police to screen everyone they suspect are stealing to fund a gambling addiction, so those individuals can be dealt with robustly, but also treated for their addiction.”


In the West Midlands there were 1,349 gambling related offences recorded by police between January 2019 and February 2023.

This figure is thought to be significantly higher in reality.

Tony said: “I find it astonishing that banks and payday lenders kept lending thousands and thousands of pounds to me despite knowing that I was gambling compulsively.

“I had hundreds of debit card transactions to gambling companies on my credit record.

“It’s immoral to continue to lend to people in that situation who are struggling to control their behaviour.

“We need banks and payday lenders to step up and intervene at an early stage if they see large sums frequently being used on gambling websites, after all, they have a duty of care for their customers.”

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