NHS demands urgent action on tackling gambling addiction

NHS mental health director Claire Murdoch has written to the heads of top gambling firms, demanding urgent action to tackle betting-related ill health.

The NHS has recently opened new gambling addiction clinics to stem the tide of betting-related ill health, as part of its Long Term Plan for the health service. Now Murdoch has called on gambling companies to immediately restrict bets placed by credit cards, before the gambling commission’s restrictions come into force later this year, and also to ban the use of so called ‘VIP experiences.

Over half of adults in England have gambled during the past year and NHS estimates show around 400,000 people have a serious gambling problem in England. Specialist services to tackle addiction and the mental ill health that excessive betting can cause are being rolled out across the country as part of a £2.3 billion package of measures in the NHS Long Term Plan.

Murdoch said: “The links between the sporting industry and gambling are deeply disturbing, and the tactics used by some firms are shameful. It is high time sporting bodies get back to their roots and start focussing on fans and families enjoying watching their heroes play, rather than allowing firms to hijack sport in pursuit of profit.

“Our NHS Long Term Plan will see 14 gambling clinics there for people across the country as part of our annual £2.3 billion investment boost to mental health services, but the NHS cannot be expected to put out fires caused by other parts of society playing with matches, which is why we need the gambling industry to up its game.”

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