The first ever gambling clinic for children and young people will be opened by the NHS.
The National Problem Gambling Clinic will aim to provide support for those aged 13 to 25 who are addicted to gambling.
Current estimates suggest there are 55,000 children classed as problem gamblers, while 450,000 are thought to bet on a regular basis – more than those who have drunk alcohol, smoked or done drugs.
The chief executive of NHS England, Simon Stevens said: “This action shows just how seriously the NHS takes the threat of gambling addiction, even in young people.
“The links between problem gambling and stress, depression and mental health problems are growing and there are too many stories of lives lost and families destroyed.”
Calls for a mandatory levy to help pay for treatment
Mr Stevens also called for a mandatory levy on gambling firms to help pay for the new clinic, a move CARE wholeheartedly supports.
The boss of NHS England pointed out that while bookmakers spent £1.5bn on advertising and marketing, it spent only a fraction of that towards funding research and treatment for problem gambling.
Last week it emerged that some of the UK’s largest bookmakers were prepared to give more money for helping treat problem gambling, but campaigners still warned it was not enough.
Carolyn Harris, the Labour MP and chair of the APPG on gambling related harms said: “For too long the [gambling] industry has dismissed problem gambling but now is the time for polluters to pay.”
Meanwhile CARE’s Communications Manager James Mildred told Premier that a mandatory levy was required to guarantee more funding.
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