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UK News

Gambling industry must do more to help addicts, says Christian group

There is an estimated 250,000 gambling addicts in the UK, but charity GambleAware suggests that only three per cent of these receive any kind of professional treatment.

CARE's Director of Parliamentary Affairs - Dan Boucher - told Premier: "There is a significant minority of gamblers for whom addiction is a real problem and causes deep trauma in their lives and that is a side effect of the gambling industry.

"Some forms of gambling addiction can lead to violence. In some incidences there are even cases of people committing suicide."

CARE has joined GambleAware in calling for advertisers, lotteries, sports clubs and the betting industry to contribute to research, education and treatment services.

Betting Shops on the high street - Copyright IO8 Photography / REX

The gambling industry made £12.6 billion of profit last year, says CARE.

From that profit, only £7 million was donated to gambling addiction charities.

Boucher called for the industry to do much more to help.

He told Premier: "We should move to a place where the gambling industry puts back in to help those who suffer as a consequence of the product it provides. They currently only contribute less than a tenth of one per cent of their gross gambling yield."

Despite the low level of problem gambling existing across the wider population, those who gamble regularly are particularly vulnerable to addiction.

GambleAware suggests that the problem is particularly high among the homeless, ex-military and those in the criminal justice system.

The charity's new chairwoman of trustees, Kate Lampard, said: "Our number one priority is protecting the vulnerable. The most important thing to us is to be able to provide treatment, preventative education and research to minimise the harm caused by gambling."

Boucher added: "The gambling industry generates a lot of money in this country. We would argue that the industry has to take far more seriously the social destruction of the lives of some people."

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