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NHS tells betting firms to stop 'vicious gambling cycle' Published Date: 20/01/2020

The BBC is reporting that the head of mental health services in England has written to five major gambling companies, demanding urgent action on tackling gambling addiction and its impact on people's health.

According to the article, Claire Murdoch said incentives like VIP treatment should be banned to stop the "vicious gambling cycle".

In her letter to the chief executives of William Hill, BetFred, bet365, GVC and Flutter, Ms Murdoch said she was worried that problem gamblers were being targeted.

"I am concerned that offering people who are losing vast sums of money... free tickets, VIP experiences, and free bets, all proactively prompt people back into the vicious gambling cycle which many want to escape."

As a nurse of more than 30 years' experience, Ms Murdoch said she had "seen first-hand the devastating impact on the mental wellbeing of addiction".

"The gambling industry has a responsibility to prevent the occasional flutter turning into a dangerous habit," she added.

In particular, Ms Murdoch criticised the practice of offering problem gamblers extra incentives to encourage them to spend more money.

These include VIP treatment, free hospitality access, and free bets and tickets.

The Betting and Gaming Council, which represents betting shops, online gaming businesses and casinos, said it took its responsibility to customers "incredibly seriously" and was determined to make gambling safer.

It said it had already introduced new age-verification checks and a ban on gambling advertising during matches.

The organisation said it was happy to meet Ms Murdoch to discuss her concerns.

Source: BBC