Gambling addiction in the UK has emerged as a growing menace. Despite gambling regulators enforcing stricter measures, it seems that gambling addiction in the country is far from being under control.
The fact that gambling addiction is taking a toll on the lives of many can be substantiated by the recent figures released by the NHS which reveal that the number of emergency hospital admissions related to gambling addiction is at an all-time high.
The NHS says that the emergency cases of people facing pathological gambling issues have increased by about 100 percent or just doubled in six years. The NHS has said that it has been witnessing a “rising tide” of gambling-related illnesses, including psychosis.
The NHS reports that the cases of pathological gambling, a condition in which people can get so consumed by their desire to gamble that they even resort to crime, has increased by over 30 percent.
NHS officials have blamed it on betting operators in the country and have said that they are the ones to be blamed the most for risking the health and money of punters.
While the gambling-related admissions to hospitals in the UK were only 150 in 2012/13, it increased to 321 in 2018/19. There were 98 cases of pathological gambling in 2016/17; however, it grew to 132 in 2017/18 and 171 in 2018/19.
This year the NHS opened its first ever gambling clinic targeting young people. The NHS has plans to open 14 new problem gambling clinics by 2023/24.
Claire Murdoch, National Mental Health Director for the NHS said: “Our NHS is 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.
“While the NHS will always be there for people – adapting, improving and increasing different and new treatments as our patients need them as part of our Long Term Plan – the gambling industry, which takes upward of £14bn a year from punters, must take the blame for this increase and ensure a fair amount of its profits help its customers who may suffer from addiction.”