New data released by the NHS has revealed a 50% rise in the number of problem gamblers who were hospitalised for the condition in the NHS over the last year.
The report reveals that over 100 people were admitted due to their “pathological” gambling which was so severe they needed hospital treatment.
According to The Telegraph, the rise is a severe increase from the number of people who had been treated in 2000 when the World Health Organisation (WHO) first recognised gambling disorder as a medical condition.
Dr Henrietta Bowden-Jones, the founder of the NHS’ only problem gambling clinic, said: “Ensuring there’s enough mental health provision to deal with those with a serious addiction is vital, if we’re to treat people they reach crisis. It is vital we prevent people succumbing to a gambling addiction in the first place.
“The data shows gambling disorders occurs in conjunction with severe and enduring mental illness such as severe depression, anxiety or psychosis.”
Meanwhile, figures revealed that 1.4% of all gamblers in the UK become problem gamblers while 11.5% of regular fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBT) users go on to become problem gamblers.
The news comes as the Church of England, the head of the NHS and more have called for a ban on gambling advertisements during live sports.
In addition, Labour announced several new policies to help tackle problem gambling which would only come into effect if the party wins the next general election.
Labour announced it would introduce a £100 million-a-year levy on gambling operators to help fund addiction treatment, a new rule allowing addicts to ask their bank to block gambling transactions and announced that they would stop people from using credit cards to pay for bets.
The owner of Coral and Ladbrokes also spoke in favour of gambling advertisements and urged for a ban on gambling ads being shown before the 9 pm watershed.
If you feel you or anyone you know may be suffering from a gambling addiction, head over to our Problem Gambling page for advice, help and support.