Pioneering NHS gambling addiction clinic is set to open its doors in Leeds

New details have been revealed about a groundbreaking centre in Leeds that will offer treatment for people suffering from gambling addiction.

Gambling Commission chief executive Neil McArthur.
Gambling Commission chief executive Neil McArthur.

Plans for the centre, which will be the first of its kind outside London, were originally announced in November last year.

Now it has been confirmed that the facility is due to open this summer and will have a city centre location.

Provisionally called the Leeds Gambling Support Hub, it will include an NHS clinic for people who have complex and severe issues with gambling.

Services at the clinic will be delivered by the Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and GamCare, described as the leading national provider of information, advice, support and free treatment for anyone affected by problem gambling.

GamCare will also carry out 'early intervention' work at the Leeds site with people who have less complex gambling issues.

It has also been confirmed that the NHS is looking to establish two satellite gambling treatment operations in other parts of the north of England.

The Leeds scheme was given the green light after research showed that the rate of problem gambling in the city is roughly twice the national average.

The centre will receive £1.2m in funding each year from the national GambleAware charity.

Preparations for the opening of the site have been welcomed by Neil McArthur, chief executive of the Gambling Commission, the body that licenses and regulates gambling in Britain.

Speaking after a visit to Leeds, he said: "We’re working hard to reduce gambling-related harms, but we know that too many people do experience harm as a result of gambling.

"Where people have experienced problems it’s essential that they have seamless access to support and treatment, which involves the combined efforts of a variety of organisations.

“The centre is a great step forward. When its doors are open, it will allow much easier access to services that identify, screen and treat people affected by gambling-related harms.

"The commission welcomes this and we hope the hub in Leeds will form a template for the future.”

It is estimated that 430,000 people nationwide have a gambling problem, while a further two million people are at risk of developing one.