NHS tells gambling giants to tackle betting related ill health

In 2019, the CEO of betting company Bet365, Denise Coates paid herself £323 million, up from her 2018 earnings. The numbers really highlight to us the damage of online gambling. 

The head of mental health care in England has written to the heads of top gambling firms, demanding urgent action to tackle betting-related ill health.

An NHS England statement said “NHS mental health director Claire Murdoch has ramped up pressure on companies to take action, following reports that gambling giants continue to nudge losing punters into more betting.”

“The NHS has recently opened new gambling addiction clinics to stem the tide of betting-related ill health, as part of its Long Term Plan for the health service.”

“Reports have found that firms are offering hospitality tickets, VIP treatment, and free bets to people who regularly lose large amounts of money.”

In a letter to industry chiefs today, Claire Murdoch calls on gambling companies to:

  • Immediately restrict bets placed by credit cards, before the gambling commission’s restrictions come into force later this year;
  • Ban the use of so called ‘VIP experiences’;
  • Stop streaming live games, all of which could make a major difference in helping people avoid building up debts and spending money they can’t afford.

Over half of adults in England have gambled during the past year and NHS estimates show around 400,000 people have a serious gambling problem in England.

NHS mental health director Claire Murdochsaid “The links between the sporting industry and gambling are deeply disturbing, and the tactics used by some firms are shameful.”

“It is high time sporting bodies get back to their roots and start focussing on fans and families enjoying watching their heroes play, rather than allowing firms to hijack sport in pursuit of profit.”

“Our NHS Long Term Plan will see 14 gambling clinics there for people across the country as part of our annual £2.3 billion investment boost to mental health services, but the NHS cannot be expected to put out fires caused by other parts of society playing with matches, which is why we need the gambling industry to up its game.”