Swansea University academics are expressing concern over the lack of treatment options available for individuals in Wales who are vulnerable to gambling harms. They are urging the Welsh Government to establish NHS gambling harms services to address this issue.

In a recent article published in Frontiers in Psychiatry, the academics highlight the increase in gambling harm referrals to the NHS each quarter. Despite this, there are currently no gambling harms clinics in Wales or Scotland, in contrast to the 15 that exist in England. This is concerning, given that a 2018 survey showed that 3.6% of individuals in Wales had experienced gambling harm. The academics suspect that this number has only grown due to the 11% increase in gambling participation between 2018 and 2022.

Additionally, there have been calls to increase gambling harms services in Scotland, particularly among women who have been overlooked in this area. In 2022, Public Health Wales conducted a Health Needs Assessment (HNA) specifically focusing on the impact of gambling on the Welsh population. The report highlighted that many individuals affected by gambling harms are unaware of the support systems currently available, such as third-sector providers and charities. Furthermore, there are challenges related to the awareness, accessibility, and acceptability of current gambling treatment and support options in Wales.

Simon Dymond, a Swansea University professor and Director of GREAT Network Wales, who worked on the article, emphasized the need for action from the Welsh Government and key stakeholders. They are urging for the establishment of a specialized gambling harms treatment service that meets the needs of the Welsh people. Investment in NHS gambling harms services for Wales is crucial and should be prioritized.

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