A New Forest solicitor firm has highlighted that gambling companies are turning towards women to boost their profits.

Collecting about £1m in lost bets for bettors annually, the law firm reached a £6m milestone of losses regained for clients over recent years, Ringwood-based Ellis Jones Solicitors said.

The law firm's Betting and Gaming Disputes Team, consisting of 14 specialists, has identified an increasing number of women lured by online bingo sites.

There are growing concerns regarding the impact of betting, with advancements in virtual reality and augmented reality technologies expected to further escalate the situation. Notably, recovered sums by the law firm have been as high as £1m and £760,000.

Many of these cases involve vulnerable gamblers, often allowed to continue betting beyond their means.

In 2019, Ellis Jones managed to recoup more than £100,000 for a 32-year-old South East man, which constituted 89 per cent of his net losses.

The firm argued that the betting operator had violated the Gambling Commission's social responsibility code by failing to safeguard the client as a vulnerable customer.

Paul Kanolik, a partner at Ellis Jones who heads up the Betting and Gaming Disputes Team, said: “We have dealt with a lot of incredibly sad cases.

“Lives are at stake through gambling. It is not just people who are tragically taking their own lives, but those that are being ruined because of the mental health and financial impacts, as well as the toll it exacts on their relationships.

“I have dealt with many cases which have resulted in severe mental health issues, divorce, as well as financial problems. For every gambler there can be four, five, six or more other people affected too.”

The majority of Ellis Jones' cases, approximately 90 per cent, are related to online betting, usually involving men, typically in their 30s and 40s. However, the firm has observed a surge in cases involving female bettors.

These findings were disclosed subsequent to the October closure of a gambling white paper consultation period, with the industry awaiting the government's subsequent steps.

Ellis Jones, which has 178 staff and offices across the UK, has also distributed a leaflet providing advice and references to resources and services.