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UK News

'Analogue laws in a digital world': Christian charity urge action amid rise in men going A&E with gambling addictions

by Alex Collett

Health professionals have highlighted that gambling is causing a rise in suicidal young men going to A and E.

Following a 42 pe rcent rise, the NHS has had to open a further two specialist clinics in England to cope with the demand. 

James Mildred, communications officer for CARE said: "The fact that the UK, in the 21st century, is soon going to have seven specialist gambling clinics across England, to me is a national tragedy. 

"It reflects the fact that our current laws and legislation badly needs to be updated and reformed because they are analogue laws in an increasingly digital world.

"Nowadays, nearly all gambling takes place online, betting companies will offer something called in play betting, which means while you are watching your favourite football team play their biggest rival, you can bet on for example the odds of who will score next and what will the final score be.

"These bets are fueling this increase in the number of men across the country who are feeling suicidal."

When asked what the government needs to do to address this issue, he continued: "The government needs to recognise that gambling addiction is a public health crisis. 

"So when something is a public health crisis, you tend to get far more positive messaging around it, you tend to get far more proactivity. Public Health England will take it on as one of their primary kind of causes, as it were. You get more resource, you get more investment and that means that we can make high quality specialist treatment available."

Other ways James believes the government can act is by reforming the 2005 Gambling act and coming down harder on betting companies.

James also believes that churches need to be aware of the issue and look out for men who maybe struggling within the church.

James said: "So let's start at youth group level, let's make sure online gambling is something we talk to our young people about."

"There's no direct biblical command that you shouldn't gamble. But there are plenty of wisdom, in terms of being good stewards of not becoming addicted to things or living free as God intended us."

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