Casino chips (c) Wikimedia Commons
Casino chips (c) Wikimedia Commons

A ground-breaking initiative to combat the escalating crisis of gambling addiction is set to launch next week in Merseyside, Wirral and Cheshire.

The North West Gambling Service (NWGS) will provide essential treatment and support to individuals grappling with gambling problems, mental health conditions, and suicidal thoughts.

The launch event takes place tomorrow morning (Thursday) in Whiston, Liverpool and aims to draw attention to the alarming rise in gambling-related deaths and the industry’s role in contributing to addiction.

The event aims to shed light on the devastating impact of gambling on individuals and families, with speakers including Dr Matt Gaskell, a consultant psychologist, and Mark Pailios, chairman of Tranmere Rovers FC.

‘Football has a major gambling problem’

Dr Gaskell emphasised that gambling-related harm affects not only a minority of so-called “weak and vulnerable” individuals but also includes a significant number of younger men, often working and in relationships, who engage in online gambling.

“Football has a major gambling problem. Our clinics have many football fans,” he said.

The launch event will feature John Myers, a parent who lost his 27-year-old son Ryan to gambling addiction in 2014. John has since become an advocate for stricter advertising restrictions on the gambling industry.

Mark Pailios, executive chairman of Tranmere Rovers FC, will highlight the club’s commitment to refusing gambling advertising.

Dr. Gaskell said: “The gambling industry’s £1.5 billion annual advertising spend has created a perfect storm for addiction.

“The NHS is bearing the burden of the online betting industry, with a surge in suicidal gambling addicts seeking help at NHS clinics.”

The NWGS not only provides treatment for gambling addiction but also supports those with mental health conditions and individuals experiencing suicidal thoughts.

Additionally, it extends services to the loved ones affected by someone else’s gambling habits.

Slot Machine (c) Wikimedia Commons

Dr Gaskell said: “There is a rising number of women harmed due to targeted advertising and marketing, particularly encouraging highly addictive slot machine gambling.”

The UK gambling industry, estimated at £15.1bn, involves 44% of the adult population in any gambling activity, making it one of the largest in the world, according to the Gambling Commission.

The NWGS launch in Liverpool marks the final phase of the NHS Long Term Plan for 15 NHS gambling clinics across England by 2024.

The clinic boasts a team of psychologists, therapists, psychiatrists, mental health nurses, and experts who have recovered from gambling addiction.

Professionals from various sectors, including the NHS, mental health services, justice system, debt counsellors, and Citizens Advice, are invited to learn more about NWGS at the launch event.

Featured image (c) NWGS


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.