Christian Action Research & Education (CARE) has reiterated calls for a public debate on gambling’s relationship with football after the head of the NHS insisted that Premier League clubs should do more to help tackle gambling addiction.
Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, said reports that some foreign betting companies are “failing to play their part” in funding services to treat problem gamblers are “deeply concerning”.
He described gambling addiction as one of the “new threats” facing the health service and said the NHS will be contacting the Premier League to ensure companies which sponsor top clubs “do the right thing”.
CARE urged football authorities to take part in a public debate over the relationship between the sport and the gambling industry.
James Mildred, of CARE, told The Catholic Universe: “It is deeply concerning to see that even though just under half of Premier League teams are sponsored by betting companies, the companies themselves are walking away from problem gamblers.
“CARE welcomes the Head of the NHS shining a light on this important issue.
“With 430,000 adult problem gamblers in the UK and 25,000 children who are classed as problem gamblers, this is not a trivial issue,” Mr Mildred continued.
“We have an epidemic of child problem gamblers in Britain and for the sake of protecting them and other problem gamblers and the latest evidence showing that Premier League sponsors are not playing their part in helping fund addicts’ treatment, it’s time we had a public debate about the troubling nature of the industry’s relationship with football.”
This weekend’s Premier League fixtures:
Saturday 22nd September
Fulham v Watford – 12:30pm
Burnley v AFC Bournemouth – 3:00pm
Cardiff City v Manchester City – 3:00pm
Crystal Palace v Newcastle United – 3:00pm
Leicester City v Huddersfield Town – 3:00pm
Liverpool v Southampton – 3:00pm
Manchester United v Wolverhampton Wanderers – 3:00pm
Brighton & Hove Albion v Tottenham Hotspur – 5:30pm
Sunday 23rd September
West Ham United v Chelsea – 1:30pm
Arsenal v Everton – 4:00pm
Picture: A smartphone user accesses the Paddy Power gambling website while watching a football match on television. (John Stillwell/PA).