Problem Gambling Clinics for Children Part of New NHS Plan

The UK’s battle against problem gambling has taken another step forward thanks to the NHS and its new plan to help minors.

NHS Problem gambling clinics for children

A new network of NHS problem gambling clinics for children has been given the greenlight. (Image: Gov.uk)

As per an announcement on June 24, a network of gambling clinics for children are to be set up.

Following a report by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) that classed 55,000 children as having a problem, the government has greenlighted 14 treatment centres.

Significant Step for Problem Gambling Efforts

Described as a “major turning point” by NHS England’s national director for mental health Claire Murdoch, the plans have been well received.

However, the UKGC has noted that many of the problem gambling issues linked to children are beyond its control.

Delving deeper into the stats, underage betting at licensed premised was less prevalent. Conversely, the majority of betting activity between minors involved scratchcards, pub fruit machines and bets between friends.

Regardless of how it occurs, the government is eager to tackle the problem.

The first clinic will open in Leeds later this summer before 13 more go live across the country. As well as information on problem gambling, the centres will provide face-to-face consultations for young people aged 13 to 25.

Raising Standards for Responsible Gambling

News of the initiative is yet another example of the UK’s push to become the safest gambling region in the world.

In January, Prime Minister Theresa May included provisions to tackle problem gambling in her £20 billion NHS plan. Beyond that, gaming operators have upped their efforts to protect consumers.

GVC is working with Harvard Medical School to gain a better understanding of the issue. Additionally, the company is part of a recent pledge by UK operators to give up to £100 million to gambling charities.

While efforts to treat addiction are increasing, anti-gambling advocates believe more needs to be done. Most vocal is Labour’s Tom Watson who has called for operators to be held more accountable.

The back-and-forth between those on either side of the divide is unlikely to subside in the short-term. However, as more provisions to treat problem gambling become available, the long-term outlook is certainly positive.

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