The United Kingdom Opens Its First Gambling Clinic For Children
Seeking to address the rising problem of gambling addiction among teens in the United Kingdom, the National Health Service (NHS) has launched its very first gambling clinic for children and adolescents.
There have been serious concerns that an increase in targeted gambling promotions and the prevalence of online gaming sites is pushing more children to give gambling a try. The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) reports that there are already around 55,000 children in Britain that can be classified as having developed a gambling problem.
The first National Problem Gambling Clinic in London is expected to offer support to gambling addicts aged 13 to 25.
Gambling Linked To Stress, Depression
NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens expressed that his agency takes seriously the potential threat and effects of gambling-related harms to British citizens and families, especially young people.
Stevens added that gambling addiction is often linked to mental health problems, such as stress and depression. The NHS has plans to open out a number of clinics in the coming months to address these problems and minimize the life-long trauma brought about by gaming.
The gambling industry allots around £1.5 billion for advertising and marketing campaigns annually but only a minor portion of this amount is being given to help in combat the growing problems of gambling addiction. The Gambling Commission estimates that around 2 million are at risk of developing a gambling disorder in the UK, with hundreds of thousands already afflicted by a serious compulsion toward gaming
MP Akins Gambling Industry To “Polluters”
Labour MP for Swansea East Carolyn Harris has lauded the launch of the new clinic saying that it is high time for the attitudes toward gambling addiction to change. Harris has compared gaming operators to “polluters,” highlighting that the industry needs to be made accountable for its exploitation and abuse of problem gamblers of all ages.
Gambling with Lives is a charitable organization established by the families and friends of young men and women who have taken their own lives as a direct result of gambling. Liz Ritchie who works with the foundation is happy that the NHS is opening a new clinic but says a gambling clinic may not be enough to address the widespread problem. She explained that gambling addicts are 15 times more likely to commit suicide than the general public.
The specialist NHS treatment facility for problem gambling has only been made accessible in London for now, but up to 14 new clinics are slated to be opened around the country, beginning with the Leeds NHS Northern Gambling Service in a few months followed by Clinics in Manchester and Sunderland.
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