- The NHS now treats gambling addicts as young as 13
- 14 new facilities are being open
- The first new clinic is going to be in London
The NHS is expanding the scope of its efforts dedicated to tackling gambling addiction among young people in England.
The NHS Addresses Underage Gambling
The National Health System (NHS) in the United Kingdom is stepping its efforts to protect underage gamblers from coming into the way of harm occasioned by such products. As a result, the National Problem Gambling Clinic will begin helping young people (aged 13-25) experiencing symptoms of gambling addiction.
In addition, the NHS is going to expand its focus on treating gambling addiction by introducing 14 new facilities across England. The move has been endorsed by the UK Gambling Commission, which has insisted that young people who may be exhibiting symptoms of addiction should be granted an easy access to treatment facilities.
There have been a number of tragic cases covered in the news over the past years. Jack Ritchie, an adolescent boy who committed suicide, was a wake-up call for regulators to pay a closer attention to how gambling may affect the youngest.
A voluntary water-shed ban has been establishing with gaming and betting companies cutting off their advertisement in prime viewing time while the UKGC has issued new regulations that oblige all operator in the country to verify the age of players, even when it concerns free to play products.
Preventing the Unthinkable
In the case of Jack Ritchie, his parents went on to create Gambling with Lives, a foundation that addresses the issue of gambling among young people. Jack began gambling as a sort of a pastime, but it gradually grew on him.
His parents received the news well and said it was wonderful, reminiscent whether Jack would have suffered the same fate had thee been more clinics readily working with young people at the time. Meanwhile, National Problem Gambling Clinic Founder and Director Henrietta Bowden-Jones commented on the recent developments by saying:
“Gambling disorder is a destructive condition which doesn’t discriminate. It wrecks lives, pulls families into debt and can leave people feeling suicidal.”
The first new clinic to open doors will be located in London with the newest addition being that the clinic and any clinic thereafter will expand the scope to include 13-year-olds. This move has been also necessitated by the fact that the number of children addicted to gambling has been growing steadily according to a recent UKGC study.
Gambling has been growing among youngsters mostly through the use of digital goods found in video games, commonly referred to as “loot boxes.” While the UKGC has said that loot boxes don’t necessarily constitute gambling, other jurisdictions such as Australia, Belgium and the Netherlands have ruled against them.