Problem Gambling Treatment Within the British National Health Service

  • Jane Rigbye
  • Mark D. Griffiths


According to the latest British Gambling Prevalence Survey, there are approximately 300,000 adult problem gamblers in Great Britain. In January 2007, the British Medical Association published a report recommending that those experiencing gambling problems should receive treatment via the National Health Service (NHS). This study examines the extent to which this recommendation has been taken up by NHS Trusts. In August 2009, a total of 327 letters were sent to all Primary Care Trusts, Foundation Trusts and Mental Health Trusts in the UK requesting information about problem gambling service provision and past year treatment of gambling problems within their Trust under the Freedom of Information Act. Results showed that 97% of the Trusts did not provide any service (specialist or otherwise) for treating those with gambling problems (i.e., only nine Trusts provided evidence of how they deal with problem gambling). Only one Trust offered dedicated specialist help for problem gambling. There was some evidence that problem gamblers may get treatment via the NHS if that person has other co-morbid disorders as the primary referral problem. Current provision for problem gamblers in Great Britain is delivered overwhelmingly by the third sector. There is still a long way to go if the aim is to provide localised, problem specific treatment to problem gamblers within the NHS system.


Gambling Problem gambling Gambling treatment Gambling addiction National health service 


  1. GamCare. (2009). Care services report. London: GamCare.Google Scholar
  2. Griffiths, M. D. (2004). Betting your life on it: problem gambling has clear health related consequences. Br Med J, 329, 1055–1056.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Griffiths, M. D. (2007). Gambling addiction and its treatment within the NHS: A guide for healthcare professionals. London: British Medical Association.Google Scholar
  4. Griffiths, M. D., Wardle, J., Orford, J., Sproston, K., & Erens, B. (2010). Gambling, alcohol consumption, cigarette smoking and health: findings from the 2007 British gambling prevalence survey. Addict Res Theory, 18, 208–223.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Ipsos, M. O. R. I. (2009). British survey of children, the national lottery and gambling 2008–09: Report of a quantitative survey. London: National Lottery Commission.Google Scholar
  6. Kim, S. W., Grant, J. E., Eckert, E. D., Faris, P. L., & Hartman, B. K. (2006). Pathological gambling and mood disorders: clinical associations and treatment implications. J Affect Disord, 92, 109–116.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Petry, N. M., Stinson, F. S., & Grant, B. F. (2005). Comorbidity of DSM-IV pathological gambling and other psychiatric disorders: results from the national epidemiologic survey on alcohol and related conditions. J Clin Psychiatry, 66, 564–574.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Volberg, R., Gupta, R., Griffiths, M. D., Olason, D., & Delfabbro, P. H. (2010). An international perspective on youth gambling prevalence studies. Int J Adolesc Med Health, 22, 3–38.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Wardle, H., Sproston, K., Orford, J., Erens, B., Griffiths, M. D., Constantine, R., et al. (2007). The British gambling prevalence survey 2007. London: The Stationery Office.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.International Gaming Research UnitNottingham Trent UniversityNottinghamUK

Personalised recommendations