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Clubs Urged by NHS to Consider Fans When Partnering with Gambling Firms

Children and adults are being

Clubs Urged by NHS to Consider Fans When Partnering with Gambling Firms

Clubs Urged to Consider Fans When Partnering with Gambling Firms

The chairman of NHS England has advised football clubs to consider the effect on supporters when accepting sponsorships from gaming companies.

According to Amanda Pritchard, the agreements give children the impression that gambling is OK.

Her remarks follow the report that the NHS is expanding its network of clinics for gambling addiction to 15 facilities, virtually doubling the number after a record number of referrals.

In 2022–2023, 1,389 patients were referred for assistance with their gaming.

In addition to the eight facilities that are presently open, seven further ones will open this summer.

Ms Pritchard called serious gambling addiction a "cruel disease" and a "life destroyer" when speaking on the BBC Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg show.

She said, "It would be really great to see the gambling industry, and also organisations like football clubs, really think seriously about their responsibilities here."

Shirt sponsorship deals mean "that it's kids that are seeing every day now messages that say gambling is OK", she added.

She also emphasised that since mobile betting is available around-the-clock, there has been a "really significant increase" in need for NHS care for gambling addiction.

Children and adults are being "bombarded" with gambling advertisements, Ms Pritchard claimed in a separate statement announcing the opening of the new clinics.

Following a coroner's finding on Thursday that a betting company could have done more to assist a gambler who committed suicide in 2021 after accruing massive debts, the NHS made the announcement.

Although Betfair, the corporation in question, claimed to have complied with all applicable regulations at the time, it has since acknowledged that more could have been done.

A campaign organisation urged The UK government to "step in" this week after three Premier League clubs announced new shirt sponsorship deals with betting companies. Addiction to gambling: "It's a double life."

The NHS plans to be able to treat 3,000 patients annually utilising methods like cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) once all 15 of its sites are operational throughout England.

The seven new clinics are located in Thurrock, Essex, Blackpool, Bristol, Derby, Liverpool, Milton Keynes and Sheffield.

These are in addition to those already occurring in Telford, London, Leeds, Newcastle, Manchester, and Southampton.

London's eighth clinic is dedicated to treating gaming addiction in children and young adults.

According to public health minister Neil O'Brien, the government has measures to combat gambling, including a promise to enact a legislative charge to ensure that gaming corporations contribute their "fair share" to treatment programmes.

Since the invention of the smartphone, the government's white paper, published in April, has significantly changed the industry's regulatory landscape.

A £2 maximum bet restriction on internet slot machines for young gamblers was one of the solutions suggested, although activists criticised the lack of action on advertisements.

The new addiction facilities were described as "heartening" by the charity Gambling with Lives, whose strategy director Will Prochaska said the clinics "couldn't come at a more pertinent moment, whilst gambling advertising lures more people into harm". The director of Clean Up Gambling, Matt Zarb-Cousin, expressed support for the announcement and claimed that the present business model was based on "harm."

According to the Lib Dems, the Conservatives did not protect gamblers, as evidenced by reports of record-high addiction referral rates.

Health spokesperson Daisy Cooper MP said, "Far too many people are suffering from gambling harms," and accused the government of "dragging their feet" on the issue.

"These new figures must be a wake-up call to ministers to stop dithering and act now before more lives are ruined."