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New gambling support service opens in Stratford

PUBLISHED: 11:00 05 June 2015

Participants spoke of addictions to fixed odd betting terminals (Picture: PA Images/Daniel Hambury)

Participants spoke of addictions to fixed odd betting terminals (Picture: PA Images/Daniel Hambury)

PA Archive/Press Association Images

Gamblers looking to get help with their addiction will be able to receive support from a new hub.

Frankie Graham, from Betknowmore and Michael  O'Dwyer, from DASL, at the launchFrankie Graham, from Betknowmore and Michael O'Dwyer, from DASL, at the launch

Gamblers looking to get help with their addiction will be able to receive support from a new hub.

The scheme, known as Gams East, was launched at Capital House, Romford Road, last week.

A joint venture between Betknowmore and Drug and Alcohol Services London (DASL), it will provide a drop-in service for those wanting advice and the ability to self-refer to the counselling service, plus training for those working with addicts.

DASL senior manager Michael O’Dwyer explained the reason for the new partnership.

Ivanhoe Norona runs a gambling workshop.Ivanhoe Norona runs a gambling workshop.

“We’ve been running our services in east London for 34 years,” he said.

“We’ve realised that in the last two years or so we’ve had requests for support for gambling too.”

He added that many people with drug or alcohol problems also have issues with gambling and that it is important to provide help when that is the case.

The launch of the new hub attracted a number of people working in various roles to help those with gambling addictions.

Some of them are former addicts who have managed to turn their lives around and help those going through the same situation.

Workshops were held to help identify the causes and effects of gambling, while discussions were held on how fixed odds betting terminals have affected gamblers and changed the way gambling is carried out.

Matt Zarb-Cousins, from campaign group Stop the FOBT, said: “Before, you might take £30 or £40 in and that would last you 10 races, and that would be an afternoon’s entertainment.

“With FOBTs, it’s much more instant.”

Eugene Farr, a campaigner for gambling reform charity Grasp, added: “People used to gamble on football matches and until FOBTs came in, that was it.

“Now they give people something to do while they wait. We’re not telling people not to gamble, we’re telling them to do it responsibly.”

For those who are struggling to cope with their gambling habit, the Gams Hub is a new resource that could prove valuable in the fight against addiction.

Contact 0300 055 8585 for advice or support on gambling addiction


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