Search

Feature: Stepping-up the fight to combat rising menace of Newham betting fixation

12:00 14 June 2014

Sue Kerten and Frankie Graham with a message on gambling

Sue Kerten and Frankie Graham with a message on gambling

Archant

More support is needed for gambling addicts in Newham, according to the chief executive of a Stratford-based service which offers counselling.

Fixed-odds betting terminals are coming under fire. Picture: Press AssociationFixed-odds betting terminals are coming under fire. Picture: Press Association

Sue Kenten, from Drug and Alcohol Service for London (DASL), hopes that a new partnership with Betknowmore will allow a purpose-designed hub 
offering mentoring, outreach and other support facilities to open, as her charity’s offering of six hourly slots is oversubscribed.

“Betting is a growing industry and we are 
really running just to try and catch up to get anywhere,” she explained. “Offering six sessions a week is not sufficient because people engage, but we have more demand.

“We see people who don’t even know that they have a problem. Over the last two or three years we have started to see people who have gambling problems as well as drugs and alcohol addiction.”

Sue co-chaired an open meeting with Frankie Graham, director of Betknowmore, last week to hear residents’ views on what should be done to combat the problem.

statistics

n Up to 590,000 adults in Britain could have a gambling problem

n About 75 per cent of problem gamblers also have a mental health issue

n 73pc of British adults gamble at least once a year

n 60pc of problem gamblers commit a non-violent criminal act to fund their gambling

n About 60pc of gamblers will consider suicide and about 20pc will attempt it

n Up to 40pc of gamblers also develop an alcohol or drugs dependency

n A gambling addiction has an impact on about nine other people around you

She says it is clear that the high number of bookmakers in Newham makes it more difficult for people to resist gambling.

“It’s like when you walk past a pub, you might think about having a drink,” Sue said. “We have a lot of empty shops and this is what happens, more and more bookies appear on the high street. They wouldn’t be here if they weren’t making money and, sadly, that market is there.”

Frankie, who was a problem gambler for 20 years, from the age of 16, knows from experience that excessive gambling can impact on every area of your life.

His issues were combined with drug and alcohol problems, which came to a head in 2006 when he almost went to prison after committing crime to fund his addictions.

He is concerned that the availability and ease of gambling is ever increasing, particularly with the rise in use of betting phone apps.

“I think it is a very real social problem that needs addressing and not enough is being done,” Frankie said. “There is a lot more interest in promoting 
remote gambling, especially moving forward, and there are even less safeguards in place.

“If you go to a betting shop you have got to make a bit of an effort, got to go out and get the money to put it in the machine, but now you could be lying in bed and gambling.

“The more betting is available, the bigger the problem is going to be.”

His organisation is campaigning for information about gambling addiction to be made more readily available, in places like youth centres and doctors’ surgeries, as he believes people are often unaware of how they can get help.

“The current implication is that the fault is with the individual person and they are addicted because of their own vulnerability to addiction, there doesn’t seem to be much focus on the cause and effect,” Frankie said. “There is not enough advice in health and community centres about gambling and how it can be addictive but I think we are more willing to think outside the box and develop services and be more flexible about how we are going to combat this.”

Read more:

Betting shops face tougher tests to open in Newham

Latest News Stories

Professor Frank Chinegwundoh says prostate cancer is an urgent priority for Newham (Pic by Hear Me Now)

Campaigners have criticised the borough’s healthcare strategy for not prioritising prostate cancer.

Zuhair Zarifa
Yesterday, 20:08
Man detained after being found guilty of pensioner attacks

A man who was found guilty of brutally attacking three people in East Ham, including two pensioners, has today been detained in a mental health unit.

Snaresbrook Crown Court
Yesterday, 17:23
Work on pedestrian crossings at Bow Interchange will start later this year

Improvements for pedestrians at Bow Interchange will get underway later this year after resounding public support for the scheme.

London
Yesterday, 15:00
Guests at Richard House Children's Hospice's 15th anniversary event, including founder Anthea Hare on the right

For 15 years, Richard House Children’s Hospice has been caring for east London youngsters and their families.

London

Most read news

Competitions

Get your hands on some fresh trainers!

Need some new shoes to head to work or some new heels for a night on the cobbles? London24 has teamed up with online retailer Sole Trader to offer £100 worth of shoes to one lucky reader.

Read more
Take in the stunning sites of London from the summit of the O2!

Up at The O2 has teamed up with London24 to give one lucky reader the chance to experience urban mountaineering this summer with an exhilarating 90-minute climb across the roof of one of London’s most iconic landmarks.

Read more

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Newham Recorder e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24


Our trusted business finder