The evidence that people from poorer social backgrounds are much more likely to gamble and resort to crime is well documented. The affair of Ricardo Randev is just the latest example of someone getting into the drug trade to cover a gambling debt that was beyond their means. Randev, who was apprehended by police in Cronton last year and appeared at Liverpool Crown Court on Monday, was arrested in possession of cocaine worth £57,000 ($74,000).
Randev’s story is not a crime, but an addiction
The man, who had a well-documented gambling addiction, found himself unable to pay an unpaid gambling debt of £13,000 ($17,000), prompting him to seek desperate measures. He pleaded guilty in court and detailed his descent into gambling. The man turned to a loan shark who gave him the £13,000 needed to cover a gambling debt, but Randev also ended up gambling the ‘money.
In pronouncing the sentence, the judge David Potter acknowledged the difficulties Randev faced during his battle with gambling addiction. The judge acknowledged that Randev tried to kick the habit and cited evidence of how difficult this process was for the defendant .
Randev had run out of numerous credit cards and taken out loans from different financial institutions in an attempt to cancel his debt, but never returned to gambling. Judge explained:
“It led you to significant debt, including repayments on your own home. Your gambling addiction continued and escalated.
Judge David Potter
Judge Potter recognized all of these extenuating circumstances that push Randev into a vicious cycle in which he had almost no control over himself. The judge said Randev showed strength of character to accept the charges. Randev is the only ward of his elderly mother whom he has cared for.
Randev will serve a prison sentence
Regardless, Judge Potter had to sentence him to three years in prison despite the circumstances of the defendant’s dependence and his mother’s dependence on him. Randev’s lawyer said that when he came to court on Monday, his client had not told his mother he could end up in jail. Randev’s story should serve as an example for the upcoming review of the Gambling Act 2005. The defendant clearly had no offense, but gambling addiction drove him into a vicious cycle of crime. This is precisely what gambling laws should address now with people of low income and social status still at a disproportionate risk of developing a serious problem and harm.