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NHS boss criticises Premier League betting companies

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The Chief Executive of NHS England has criticised betting firms with sponsorship links to the Premier League for failing on gambling addiction.

Simon Stevens has named eight companies involved in sponsoring Premier League teams who have not paid their share of a £10 million fund dedicated to helping gambling addicts. In a speech to the NHS Expo in Manchester, Stevens said that the failure of these companies to contribute to the fund had left the NHS to pick up the pieces, and that the betting companies concerned were abdicating their responsibilities towards problem gamblers.

He also called on the Premier League to take action and to pressure those companies that were not paying towards the fund to do so.

Everyone’s responsibility

There are estimated to be around 430,000 gambling addicts in England, but only around 2 percent of them seek help. Although the NHS has recently launched its first ever clinic focused on dealing with gambling addiction, the failure of several betting companies to contribute towards the fund, which is run by the charity GambleAware, was putting additional pressure on the NHS to tackle the problem:

“But reports that foreign gambling companies are failing to play their part in co-funding help for addicts are deeply concerning. Taxpayers and the NHS should not be left to pick up the pieces. The health of the nation is everyone’s responsibility.”

Nearly half of the clubs in the Premier League and two thirds of Championship teams are currently sponsored by gambling companies, but according to Stevens, many of them are not paying into the fund, which they are required to by the Gambling Commission.

Responding to his remarks, a spokesperson for GambleAware said that all teams, broadcasters and sports leagues that benefit from gambling sponsorship should also contribute to helping the treatment of gambling addiction. The Remote Gambling Association has previously said they would support a levy on betting companies for gambling addiction treatment and the Labour Party has proposed a ban on Premier League betting sponsorship.

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