Skip to the content

Formal launch of Northern Gambling Service in Sheffield

Greg Fell speaking at Northern Gambling Service launch with audience in site and slides in the background

Today saw the launch of the North-East and Yorkshire Gambling clinic in Sheffield.

The service will provide specialist NHS treatment for people experiencing gambling-related harm across South Yorkshire. By the end of 2024, the National Health Service will have the capacity to treat up to 3,000 people every year through 8 regional services at 15 clinics in total.

At the event, the clear messages from those with lived experience, professionals and those who have lost loved ones to suicide because of gambling addiction were that no-one should face unnecessary stigma or shame because of gambling addiction and that it’s important for people to talk about it.

Greg Fell, Director of Public Health in Sheffield, said: “We can and must focus on individuals but if we forget the system and products within the system then we’re missing a big trick.”

“We need to remember these key points:

  • Don’t talk about problem gambling. That frames the whole issue in faulty people. This isn’t about faulty people, this is about a system that creates harm.
  • Talk about whole populations – there are wilful narratives at play out there from the gambling industry, portraying gambling as a leisure pursuit and harmless fun.
  • Gambling is a multi-billion-pound industry that uses the same tactics and the same play book as oil, tobacco, fast food – “distort, deny, delay.” You’ve got to talk about this approach and make people aware.
  • Those responsible for creating harms to health should not be involved in decisions about how to prevent harm but that isn’t being played out at the moment – there is enormous industry influence in the policy process.
  • Advertising and marketing: £1.5 billion is spent marketing very addictive products to us, but the industry tells us that it isn’t linked to behaviour.

Councillor Angela Argenzio, Co-Chair of Sheffield's Health and Wellbeing Board, said: “I was very pleased to be at today’s launch of gambling services in Sheffield. Help is out there and we’re grateful to those who have made this possible. We encourage people to come forward and talk about what’s happening to them with their gambling.

“They will be assured by professionals who will work with them, who understand that they are up against a very powerful industry that is willing them to keep going, keep playing, keep betting, knowing that the only winner is the gambling industry. They will help people to escape from the gambling trap.  

“It’s vital that we do what we can to tackle the model that allows the gambling system to knowingly harm people. We recognise how important it is for the Council to look at what support it must provide to people and families in relation to gambling addiction when delivering its services.”

Councillor Angela Argenzio and Greg Fell, Director of Public Health in Sheffield speak from today’s launch:

Today's formal launch of the Sheffield branch of the Northern Gambling Service coincides with Sheffield City Council's Finance Committee formally approving its new Advertising and Sponsorship Policy. This policy will restrict any future advertising and sponsorship contracts that relate to gambling companies.

Notes to editors

More information about the support for those who are worried about the effect gambling is having on them or someone they know can contact:

  • NHS North East and Yorkshire Gambling Service
  • Chapter One (Information and Support Hub)
  • Sheffield MIND
  • Gambling Support charity
  • Gamblers Anonymous/Gam Anon