From 2013 to now, the number of hospital admissions related to gambling addiction have doubled in England.
NHS Data Shows Problem Gambling Increase in England
NHS England has released numbers that indicate gambling addiction numbers are on the rise. According to new data, admissions to hospitals for gambling addiction have doubled since 2013.
Last year, 321 people were hospitalized for severe mental illness conditions that are connected to problem gambling. Six years ago, 150 people were hospitalized for the same thing, so there is definitely an upward trend.
When it comes to pathological gambling (when individuals begin committing crimes in order to pay for their gambling addictions), the number of cases have risen by a third. Over the course of the past year, there were 171 recorded cases.
While these numbers mark an incline in the number of serious issues related to gambling, it’s just a small drop in the pond when you consider gambling addiction as a whole. According to the NHS’s numbers, there are 400,000 people across England that are addicted to gambling. There are two million people overall that are at risk of developing problem gambling behaviours – which the NHS defines as “an intense desire to bet that interferes with their day-to-day lives”.
The Fight Against Problem Gambling in England
NHS professionals recognize that problem gambling is a serious issue across the country. They believe that stopping gambling addiction numbers from rising begins with cracking down on operators to ensure that they don’t engage in predatory practices.
“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”– says Claire Murdoch, the National Mental Health Director for the NHS.
The gambling industry brings in over £14 billion worth of wagers in England every year. NHS mental health staff believe that gaming operators should be allocating “fair amount” of their profits to help individuals that are struggling with gambling addiction.
The NHS is also committed to doing its part to helping those that deal with problem gambling. By the year 2024, the health organization hopes to open 14 new problem gambling clinics, along with the first-ever gambling clinic targeted at youth.
There’s certainly a long way to go before the issue of problem gambling is solved; however, there is plenty that can be done to at least stop gambling addiction numbers from rising in the UK. It’s important for mental health professionals to work together with gambling operators to find successful solutions.