The NHS Northern Gambling Clinic was founded in 2019 as the number of people suffering from gambling problems has increased alarmingly over the years.
A meeting of Leeds City Councils asked how the Covid-19 pandemic had affected the number of people using the service.
Although the officers did not have a number of service users available, it was confirmed that the number of people referred to the service had decreased.
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“/>The number of people who have contacted the service has “decreased”.
The clinic consists of psychologists, therapists, psychiatrists and psychiatric nurses and is headquartered in Leeds.
When asked if the pandemic had put additional pressure on the services, Sue Duckworth, Leeds City Council’s entertainment licensing officer, told a meeting of the agency’s licensing committee: “I attend several problematic gambling sessions. I don’t have specific dates – they went through the lockdown, but I think the recommendations have gone down.
“You weren’t able to do so much face to face because of the coronavirus, and I think that’s having an impact.
“I’ll be attending another problem gambling meeting shortly. We will receive more data. “
The meeting was supposed to discuss the proposed changes to the gambling laws and has asked local authorities to provide evidence and feedback.
Sports, Tourism and Heritage Minister Nigel Huddlestone wrote in a letter to the councils last month: “Gambling is a fun pastime for many people as almost half of adults play each month.
“We respect the freedom of adults to choose how they spend their money and the value of a responsible industry that protects players, provides jobs and pays taxes.
“It is important, however, that we prevent the exploitation of vulnerable people and protect individuals, families and communities from the potentially lethal effects of harm from gambling.”
Last May, Matthew Gaskell of the Northern Gambling Service said a government public health approach is the most effective way to combat what he has termed “hidden addiction.”
According to the latest figures, around 30,000 people in Leeds have a gambling addiction, while a study by Leeds Beckett University found that the city has potentially twice the national average.
Speaking to the Yorkshire Evening Post in May 2020, Gaskell said, “Problems with pandemic conditions have a number of risk factors for people. You want to get out of financial trouble, there is job insecurity, there is bottleneck, stress, sometimes there is conflict at home and online gambling is available 24/7. “