NHS tells gambling giants to improve the odds for mental health
The head of mental health care in England has written to the heads of top gambling firms, demanding urgent action to tackle betting-related ill health.
NHS mental health director Claire Murdoch has ramped up pressure on companies to take action, following reports that gambling giants continue to nudge losing punters into more betting.
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.
Reports have found that firms are offering hospitality tickets, VIP treatment, and free bets to people who regularly lose large amounts of money.
The major intervention from the NHS follows heavy criticism of gambling firms across the country and in parliament during the scandal of ‘bet to view’ football streaming, which turns fans into punters by having to place a bet in order to watch sports games.
The gambling commission has confirmed plans to crack down later this year on bets placed by credit card while another powerful technique reportedly used involves delaying people from withdrawing their winnings, increasing the possibility of re-betting and potentially losing any gains.
In a letter to industry chiefs, Claire Murdoch calls on gambling companies to:
- Immediately restrict bets placed by credit cards, before the gambling commission’s restrictions come into force later this year;
- Ban the use of so called ‘VIP experiences’;
- Stop streaming live games, all of which could make a major difference in helping people avoid building up debts and spending money they can’t afford.
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.
NHS mental health director Claire Murdoch yesterday 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.”
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.
Last year, the gambling industry in the UK raised £14.5 billion in the UK whilst the Gambling Commission classes more than two million people as ‘at risk’ of addiction.
The gambling industry also spends £1.5 billion on marketing and advertising campaigns, which can make it even more difficult for people to escape gambling addiction.
27 out of 44 top football clubs in England have a gambling company as their shirt sponsor, and this week there has been an outcry following games in the FA Cup third round been streamed by gambling firms using the ‘bet to view’ model.
Despite the backlash, gambling firms are to continue streaming games for future rounds in the FA Cup.
Other sports, such as rugby, have since come under criticism for similar bet to view practices with the gambling industry.
Latest News from
Prime time telly boost for NHS jobs01/10/2020 09:15:00
Google searches for ‘ambulance jobs’ shoot up by 70 per cent as prime time TV viewers are gripped by the real-life emergencies paramedics and 999 call handlers are responding to, with the latest episode of Ambulance that aired last night.
NHS announces independent review into gender identity services for children and young people23/09/2020 14:15:00
The NHS yesterday announced that Dr Hilary Cass OBE, former President of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, will lead an independent review into gender identity services for children and young people.
Nursing boost for England’s NHS22/09/2020 14:15:00
Hospitals, mental health and community trusts in England are set to receive a multi million-pound boost to help recruit thousands more nurses.
‘Most vital ever’ health and care worker flu vaccination drive launched17/09/2020 09:15:00
The health and social care service’s most senior clinicians and leaders have urged their frontline colleagues to get their annual flu jab as soon as possible, as the first vaccine deliveries start to reach local employers this week.
Training for barbers to spot warning signs of mental health problems14/09/2020 11:20:00
Community initiatives including mental health first aid training for barbers, and counselling for bereaved relatives, are set to benefit from a £10 million funding boost.
Foreign body aspiration during intubation, advanced airway management or ventilation01/09/2020 14:15:00
A National Patient Safety Alert has been issued on the risk of foreign body aspiration during intubation, advanced airway management or ventilation.
NHS ‘lifeline’ for hundreds of stroke survivors01/09/2020 11:25:00
Hundreds of NHS patients have received personal, specialised care thanks to a new service set up during the coronavirus pandemic.