The National Health Service (NHS) in England is opening more specialist clinics to help deal with a record number of gambling addiction referrals. Seven new facilities will soon open to gambling addicts, complementing the eight clinics that are already up and running.
A record 1,389 people were referred for treatment last year
The NHS has concerns about escalating rates of gambling addiction in the region. A record 1,389 people were referred for treatment last year, up from 1,013 in 2022 and 775 in 2021. That represents a 79% increase in just two years.
Commenting on the issue, NHS England Chief Executive Amanda Pritchard said people now have 24/7 accessibility to online casinos and sportsbooks, leading to a “really significant increase in demand” for support services. For those with a particularly severe issue, she said: “It’s a really cruel disease and it’s a life destroyer.”
Another issue that Pritchard sees is the prevalence of gambling advertising. She pointed out that three soccer clubs last week announced new shirt deals with gambling operators “which means that it’s kids that are seeing every day now messages that say gambling is OK.” Teams are still entering these short-term agreements despite the incoming ban on this type of sponsorship from the 2026/2027 season.