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New support for NHS to treat gambling addiction

The Government has announced that it will provide £100 million of new funding for prevention and treatment of gambling addiction.

In order to fund this, the Government is minded to set the levy as a new 1% fee on gross gambling yield for online gambling operators, while traditional betting shops and casinos will pay a proposed fee of around 0.4%. 

‘Gambling addiction destroys people’s lives and with record numbers turning to the NHS for support, the health service has met this demand head on by opening four new specialist clinics in recent months, with a further three opening later this year,’ said NHS mental health director Claire Murdoch.

‘The NHS has long called for a statutory levy because it is only right that this billion-pound industry steps up to support people suffering from gambling addiction and I am pleased that action is being taken to prevent people from coming to harm in the first place. It is now vital we continue working in partnership to ensure we provide effective prevention, education and treatment for this condition.’

Technology has reshaped where, when and how people gamble and there has been a significant rise in online gambling behaviour due to the ease of access on smartphones, with people able to gamble anytime and anywhere. 

Figures from the NHS Digital Health Survey also indicate that some of these online products are associated with elevated levels of gambling-related addiction and harm with ‘problem gambling’ rates eight times higher for online slots and casino game players than in the population as a whole.

‘Harmful gambling can affect people’s savings, ruin relationships, and devastate people’s lives and health. Gambling companies should pay their fair share towards the costs of treatment services, but we want to hear from as many people as possible about how the new statutory levy should work,’ said Health Minister Neil O’Brien.

‘We continue working to support those affected by gambling harms. Twelve of the planned fifteen NHS gambling addictions clinics have now opened across the country providing vital support services for thousands of people experiencing gambling-related harms as well as their loved ones. The remaining three are expected to open by the end of the year.’