NHS broadens its scope of assistance for problem gambling

The British National Health Service (NHS) is taking steps to address the growing issue of gambling addiction. In response to a significant increase in demand, the NHS has announced plans to expand its services for those struggling with problem gambling.

To meet the needs of those seeking help, the NHS will be opening seven new clinics, in addition to the eight already established. These clinics will offer cognitive behavioural therapy and support groups, aiming to assist approximately 3,000 gambling addicts each year.

By increasing accessibility to these important resources, the NHS hopes to effectively tackle the rising problem of gambling addiction.

Since 2021, there has been an alarming 80% rise in the number of individuals seeking help for gambling addiction in the UK. The Gambling Commission estimates that there are currently 138,000 high-risk gamblers across Great Britain. To make matters worse, an additional 1.3 million people are considered at moderate to low risk.

Amanda Pritchard, the Chief Executive of the NHS, has identified the increasing accessibility of gambling through mobile devices and relentless advertising as the main drivers behind this concerning trend. Pritchard warns that gambling has the potential to ruin people’s lives.

NHS Mental Health Director Claire Murdoch shares Pritchard’s concerns, particularly regarding the impact of gambling promotions during televised sports on young people. Efforts have been made within the sports industry, such as the English Premier League’s decision to remove gambling sponsors from their jerseys. However, more needs to be done at the regulatory and legislative level.

Unfortunately, regulatory actions have fallen short. The much-anticipated gambling whitepaper, criticized for its lack of immediate measures, focuses predominantly on consultations rather than taking decisive action to amend the current Gambling Act. As a result, significant changes are not expected until at least 2024, leaving the root cause of this addiction crisis unaddressed.

It is clear that urgent steps are required to combat the escalating issue of gambling addiction. The well-being of individuals and the future of our society are at stake.

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