Gambling addiction clinics ‘full of young men in football shirts’

Mental health experts fear access to online gambling is fuelling suicide rates (Picture: Getty)

Mental health experts fear access to online gambling is fuelling suicide rates (Picture: Getty)

A doctor who treats people led to the brink of suicide by gambling addictions says clinics are ‘full of young men in football shirts’.

The damning comments come as the NHS has revealed it has seen a 42% rise in demand for treatment linked to betting problems across England.

Doctor Matt Gaskell,a psychologist who working with patients dealing with gambling addictions, said the industry is increasing the number of suicidal men going to A&E.

Speaking to The Times as the World Cup gets under way, a major driver for betting on football, he blasted the ‘predatory tactics’ of betting firms.

Dr Gaskell continued: ‘People start gambling as soon as they wake up in the morning; they’re gambling in the shower, gambling while they’re driving to work. The NHS is picking up the tab.

‘There has been an increase in people turning up at A&E in crisis, in a state of suicide. People are completely desperate, begging for help and seeing suicide as a genuine escape.’

According to Dr Gaskell, three quarters of patients are men and most are in their 30s.

He added: ‘One of the first things I noticed was that groups were filled with young men wearing football shirts. That hasn’t stopped.’

Football is closely associated with betting and many clubs and tournaments have commercial relationships with gambling companies (Picture: Getty)

The NHS stopped accepting cash from the gambling industry to help fund the treatment of people suffering with addiction earlier this year.

At the time, the head of mental health for England said it was ‘heavily influenced’ by patients who felt uncomfortable using a service paid for by the companies they blame for their problems.

Between April and December last year, 668 people with the most severe gambling addiction issues were referred to NHS gambling clinics.

That was up from 575 during the same period in 2020, a 16.2% increase, according to NHS England.

The north of England has the highest proportion of at-risk gamblers, with 4.4% of adults in the North West and 4.9% in the North East being the most at risk of addiction.

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Overall, it is estimated that around 0.5% of the UK adult population, around 246,000 people, are likely to have some form of gambling addiction and 2.2 million are at risk.

The industry makes profits of over £14 billion a year from gambling in the UK.

GambleAware accounts show it collected £16 million between April and December last year in voluntary donations from the gambling industry to fund a range of treatment services.

These include NHS gambling clinics, which received £1.2 million in 2020/21.

The overall voluntary pledges to GambleAware last year included £1 million from William Hill, just over £4 million from …read more

Source:: Metro


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