‘Shameless’ betting giants cause hospital admissions for gambling to double in six years, the NHS warns
- Some 500 Britons needed emergency treatment after gambling caused illness
- NHS figures show some 321 people admitted for gambling addiction in 2018/19
- A further 171 patients needed medical intervention for pathological gambling
Hospital admissions for gambling addiction have doubled in six years due to ‘shameless’ betting giants, the NHS warned last night.
Almost 500 Britons needed emergency treatment last year after their problem gambling caused serious illnesses including psychosis.
NHS figures show 321 people were admitted directly for gambling addiction in 2018-19, up from 150 in 2012-13. A further 171 patients needed medical intervention for pathological gambling, which is when people turn to crime to fund their addiction. This is up by one third in the last 12 months.
The NHS yesterday hit out at predatory betting firms for ‘egging on’ gamblers as it warned of a rising tide of gambling-related illnesses. Around 400,000 people in England are addicted to gambling – including 55,000 children. It is linked to self-harm, suicide, depression and anxiety.
Almost 500 Britons needed emergency treatment last year after their problem gambling caused serious illnesses including psychosis (stock image)
Claire Murdoch, national mental health director for the NHS, said it was ‘fighting back against a rising tide of gambling related ill health as more people than ever before are being egged on by shameless gambling firms, not just to take a chance with their money, but with their health too’. She also said the industry should dedicate profits to help addicted customers.
The Daily Mail’s Stop the Gambling Predators campaign has called for greater protection from betting firms.
There is growing concern about the catastrophic impact of gambling on society, especially among young men, sucked in by online betting. And betting charity Gambling with Lives said there are between 250 and 650 gambling-related suicides in the UK every year.
And some 46 people aged under 25 attended hospital as a result of betting addiction last year – including one 15-year-old.
NHS figures show 321 people were admitted directly for gambling addiction in 2018-19, up from 150 in 2012-13 (stock image)
The NHS has opened the first ever specialist problem gambling clinic for children amid warnings that betting is ‘destroying the mental health of a generation of young people’.
Earlier this month, NHS chief Simon Stevens condemned betting firms for their ‘aggressive push into online gambling’ after a survey revealed that half the population now gamble.
Matt Zarb-Cousin, from the Campaign for Fairer Gambling, said: ‘We’re now at the point where more than one person every day in Britain has to be admitted to hospital as a result of gambling.’
He said it was ‘time to look properly’ at gambling’s role in causing harm.