Agency increases sanctions imposed on gamblers

Blog Insolvency

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The Insolvency Service is taking a harder line on those who have fallen into bankruptcy as a consequence of gambling or speculation.

Figures released this week reveal that the number of Bankruptcy Restriction Orders (BROs) which had been filed in relation to gamblers had soared by 150 per cent in the space of just two years.

A BRO is designed to limit access to credit and can prevent a person from becoming the director of a business for a period of up to 15 years.

The increase in the number of orders handed out by the executive agency comes amid growing concern about problem gambling in the UK – which critics claim has been fuelled by the ease with which people can now place bets online.

Earlier this year, analysis carried out by the Gambling Commission – the body which licenses and regulates the gaming industry – showed that almost half of adults now gambled at least once a month.

One of the most high-profile cases of a BRO being imposed as a result of gambling was when an order was filed against the former professional snooker star Willie Thorne.

Last year Mr Thorne revealed he had started betting during his playing career, but the habit spiralled out of control and he ended up racking up debts of £1million.

Another man, Stuart Mudge, from Wales, had run a multi-million pound betting scheme without the approval of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and was declared bankrupt when he failed to pay a fine.

Speaking last year Gerard O’Hare, an Official Receiver at the Insolvency Service, said: “Where a bankrupt has taken undue risks with creditors’ money, he should not expect to do so without repercussions, particularly when others suffer financial loss as a result.

“A bankruptcy restriction in these circumstances will serve to provide creditors with a degree of protection, and it will also act as a deterrent to the bankrupt not to act in a similar manner in the future.”