The National Health Service plans for two gambling addiction clinics

The National Health Service plans for two gambling addiction clinics

The two additional clinics, located in Southampton and Stoke-on-Trent, will open in May, bringing the total to seven across England. 

Gaming Clinic 

The five additional NHS gambling addiction clinics located in London, Leeds, Manchester, and Sunderland and the national children and young person’s pilot clinic will shape the launch of further gambling clinics later this year. The north of England has the greatest rate of at-risk gamblers, with 4.4 percent of adults in the North West and 4.9 percent in the North East at danger of addiction. Between April and December last year, 668 people with the most serious gambling addiction disorders were referred to NHS gambling clinics – up 16.2 percent from 575 during the same period in 2020.

The announcement follows a letter from NHS mental health head Claire Murdoch to GambleAware in which she confirms that the NHS will fully fund its own gambling services beginning in April, bringing the support in line with other NHS services. The decision was made in response to input from patients and professionals opposing the gambling industry’s conflict of interest in paying addiction treatment in the UK, which generates over £14 billion in annual earnings. According to research published last September by Public Health England (now the UK Health Security Agency), approximately 0.5 percent of the adult population, or approximately 246,000 people, are likely to have a gambling addiction, with approximately 2.2 million people being problem gamblers or at risk of addiction. Gambling addiction is a nasty mental health disorder that has the potential to wreck people’s lives — the pilot clinics are already having a lasting impact on helping people reclaim critical control over their life. With the launch of two new gambling clinics in May as part of the £2.3 billion investment in mental health services, they will be able to assist an increased number of people with the most severe casino and sports betting issues.

Gambling Harm Network and Clinical Reference Group

Along with the aforementioned, the agency wants to launch a Gambling Harm Network and Clinical Reference Group later this year with the goal of unifying “expertise” and enabling clinical teams to share best practices for treating problem gambling. This follows the NHS’s decision to sever financial connections with the gambling industry, announcing that it will no longer take contributions from operators and will instead fund all treatment programs – including the newly planned clinics – entirely via its own resources. Patients and clinicians expressed reservations about the gambling industry’s potential for conflict of interest, owing to the industry’s £14 billion yearly revenue and sponsorship of addiction treatment.

The NHS will create a new Gambling Harm Network and Clinical Reference Group later this year to pool expertise and enable clinical teams to share best practices for treating gambling addiction. Gambling addiction, once established, has the potential to destroy lives. Nick Firth, 31, of West Yorkshire, struggled for 12 years with a gambling addiction. To avoid admitting he had a problem, the addiction took over his life to the point where he would beg, borrow, and steal money to pay it, straining relationships with family and friends. Nick ultimately sought help from NHS gambling services in January last year, at the height of his addiction, when he felt suicide was the only way out. Nick undertook group cognitive-behavioral treatment with the assistance of his personal NHS support worker to help manage his addiction and has not gambled since.

Murdoch stated in an open letter to Zoe Osmund, CEO of GambleAware, that the NHS will no longer receive RET payments from the gambling industry, a move that industry stakeholders had anticipated. “It is also completely correct that the NHS now funds these clinics independently, recognizing the detrimental consequences this addiction can have on the nation’s mental health and that predatory gambling methods are part of the problem, not the solution,” Murdoch added.


About Lou De Aguila

Lou Aguila is a news and feature writer for Golden Casino News. For over a decade, Lou has published news and featured articles for some of the most reputable sports betting and online casino sites in the world, including BetNow.UK, VegasOdds, and BWin. Apart from being a hardcore live casino punter, he also covers sports stories in North American leagues from time to time.