GambleAware to launch new clinic
The charity GambleAware is planning to build a new gambling addiction clinic in Scotland, the first of its kind. The announcement comes after several years of campaigning because of the high gambling rate in Scotland. It has not yet been decided whether a 1% levy on bookmakers in the country will continue to fund it.
The charity has already had discussions with the Scottish Government after expressing interest in establishing a National Gambling clinic for Scotland that would work in conjunction with the UK’s National Health Service (NHS). GambleAware already has a clinic in London and is opening their second clinic in Leeds, in the North of England (Leeds). The new facility is expected later this year and will be funded by the charity through a $1.5m (£1.15m) annual grant.
Marc Etches, chief executive of GambleAware, said in a statement: “Our aim is to stop people getting into problems with their gambling and to ensure those that do develop problems receive fast and effective treatment and support.”
To continue funding the facility, the charity is campaigning for a 1% industry levy to fund the proposed addiction clinic. The will offer services such as cognitive behavioral therapy, which specifically aims to reduce anxiety and depression.
Problems in Glasgow
In a 2018 report, Glasgow was named the city in the UK most badly affected by high-stake slot machines. The study reported that fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) cost the country $45.8m (£35.1m) a year in gambling-related harm.
Addiction is blamed for several issues, including poor health, financial problems, troubled relationships, mental health problems, and an increase in crime rates.
The UK has already made a big change this year by lowering the stake in which people can bet on fixed-odds betting terminals. A £2 ($2.62) maximum stake on the machines was implemented in April. The previous maximum stake was £100 ($131), so this is a significant drop that is meant to decrease gambling-related harm in the country.
MP already on board
Inverclyde’s MP, Ronnie Cowan, has publicly announced his support for the 1% industry levy to fund the new clinic.
Cowan said in a statement: “London has the UK’s only National Problem Gambling Clinic. This is to be supported by the creation of another facility in the north of England this year. However, we’ve no such clinic in Scotland even though there are high levels of problem gambling and people suffering gambling-related harm.”
The Scottish Government has said it encourages any actions that will reduce the harmful impact of problem gambling.