Gambling plays role in hundreds of deaths every year, launch told

A new clinic for those harmed by gambling across South Yorkshire will be unveiled on Monday (18 March) with the grim warning that gambling kills. It is the final clinic of 15 to be launched by the NHS across England.
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Dr Matt Gaskell, the head of the North East and Yorkshire Gambling Service (NEYGS), says: “Gambling plays a role in hundreds of deaths every year.”

NEYGS provides treatment for those experiencing gambling related harm. This could be the individual who is gambling, or for loved ones affected by someone else’s gambling. The prognosis for change is very good, with 85 per cent of service users achieving abstinence following treatment.

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Dr Gaskell, a consultant psychologist, says that gambling does not just harm a minority of so-called weak and vulnerable people. The majority are younger men, working and in a relationship, who gamble online. He stressed: “Football has a major gambling problem. Our clinics have many football fans.”

Dr Matt Gaskell, the head of the North East and Yorkshire Gambling Service.Dr Matt Gaskell, the head of the North East and Yorkshire Gambling Service.
Dr Matt Gaskell, the head of the North East and Yorkshire Gambling Service.

Dr Gaskell adds: “The gambling industry, which spends £1.5bn a year on advertising, has designed a perfect storm for addiction and its business model appears to be reliant on those harmed and experiencing addiction.

“The mobile phone is a casino in your pocket.”

According to the Gambling Commission, the UK gambling industry Is worth an estimated £15.1 billion, with overall participation in any gambling activity involving an estimated 44 per cent of the adult population. It is one of the largest in the world.

Professional services including the NHS, mental health services, the justice system, debt counsellors and Citizens Advice will hear about NEYGS from Dr Gaskell at its launch in Sheffield. He is a national expert in gambling addiction and is topic advisor for the NICE Guidelines for Harmful Gambling. While his expertise is in treatment, he has worked closely with government to advocate for public health prevention policy and stricter regulation of gambling.

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He said: “We are mass advertising and marketing an addictive product which could ensnare anyone at a given time. The source of the harm is the industry, its products and thirst for profit over the wellbeing of its customers, as well as our undercooked laws and regulations.”

*The launch takes place on Monday 18 March at the Showroom Workstation, 15 Paternoster Row, Sheffield S1 2BX, 9.30am registration, 10am start.

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