National Health Service (NHS) chief, Simon Stevens, has called for Premier League football clubs to put more effort towards tackling problem gambling. According to him, the problem stems right from the foreign bookmakers that sponsor the Premier League football clubs who he considers to have failed miserably at their duty to help protect problem gamblers.
To put this into perspective, the NHS chief recently released a statement during a conference in Manchester. He pointed out that eight out if the nine Premier League football clubs that are sponsored by foreign gambling operators have failed to make the required donations to an industry charity. Bookmakers who operate in Britain have been encouraged to donate to the GambleAware charity which targets £10m a year that is channeled towards helping people with gambling addictions.
“There is an increasing link between problem gambling and stress, depression and other mental health problems. Doctors report that two-thirds of problem gamblers get worse without help and the NHS does offer specialist treatment. But reports that foreign gambling companies are failing to play their part in co-funding help for addicts are deeply concerning. Taxpayers and the NHS should not be left to pick up the pieces – the health of the nation is everyone’s responsibility,” the NHS chief said.
The Gambling Commission reports that there are around 430,000 problem gamblers in the United Kingdom and there is growing concern that the sponsorships of clubs and broadcasting especially with regards to the Premier League are fueling these addictions. The addictions have grown so fast that now the NHS consider them as “new threats to public health”.
“The NHS has opened its first mental health clinic aimed at gambling, and the Gambling Commission estimates there are 430,000 people with a gambling problem,” Mr. Stevens added. “This is at the same time as the voluntary contribution from the gambling industry has not been responded to by eight overseas firms who sponsor Premier League clubs, so we need to get onto the Premier League to make sure they contribute.”
Support from GambleAware
Issues pertaining to morality when it comes issues revolving around gambling are rather complicated in many cases. Many parties and stakeholders often opt to stay quiet for fear of interfering with certain aspects of their businesses. Fortunately for Mr. Stevens, GambleAware has welcomed his comments and therefore his propositions are more likely to get more support from other sectors as well.
“With nearly half the clubs in the Premier League and over two-thirds of the Championship league sponsored by gambling companies, we are seriously concerned the relationship between sport and gambling has reached a tipping point. There is a real risk gambling advertising and sponsorships are normalizing gambling for children,” a GambleAware spokesperson commented. “We welcome the call from NHS England for gambling companies, wherever they are based, to contribute more to treating problem gambling.”