The inquest into the death of Luke Ashton has concluded that a gambling disorder caused his death by suicide. This is understood to be the first time that this has ever been recorded in an inquest. Luke died in 2021, aged 40, after suffering longstanding problems with gambling.
His death occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic, at a time when the Government and the Gambling Commission had issued statements and guidance to gambling companies, including Betfair, about the increased risks of gambling-related harm. In the weeks leading up to his death, Luke was often spending almost entire days gambling and began showing signs of unusual behaviour.
Area Coroner Ivan Cartwright said he was concerned that Betfair did not meaningfully interact or intervene when Mr Ashton’s gambling activity spiked. Luke was assessed as a low-risk gambler by Betfair, despite a significant increase in frequency and amounts he was betting in the 10 weeks before his death. The Coroner concluded that Betfair did not intervene or interact with Luke in any meaningful way between 2019 and the date of Luke’s death, when more efforts to intervene or interact should have been made. As a result, opportunities were missed which may have prevented Luke’s death.
The Coroner added that he will be making a Prevention of Future Deaths report, which will include his concerns about a lack of meaningful interaction or intervention by the gambling operator Betfair, owned by Flutter.
Jesse Nicholls acted for Luke’s wife, Annie Ashton, instructed by Merry Varney and Dan Webster at Leigh Day.
- Leigh Day Press Release
- BBC: Luke Ashton: Betfair criticised by coroner over gambler’s death
- Guardian: Coroner criticises Betfair for failing to act before man’s suicide