The NHS is set to launch its first gambling addiction clinic for young people, amid growing concerns that gambling is destroying their mental health.
Around 55,000 children are said to be gambling addicts, while a Gambling Commission report revealed that 450,000 eleven to 16-year-olds regularly place bets.
The NHS will open 14 new addiction clinics around the country, with the specialist young people’s centres providing psychological help to those aged between 13 and 25.
NHS Chief Executive Simon Stevens said that gambling companies should help pay for the treatments.
He said: “This action shows how seriously the NHS takes gambling addiction, even in young people”.
He criticised betting companies for spending around £1.5 billion a year on advertising, “much of it now pumped out online and through social media”, but giving just £10 million to help treat addition.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “We know too many young people face their lives being blighted by problem gambling – so these new clinics will also look at what more can be done to help them.”