PCA Partner with NHS Gambling Clinic

In a ground-breaking initiative, the PCA has joined
forces with the UK's only NHS gambling centre. 
The National Problem Gambling Clinic, managed 
by Central and North West London NHS Foundation 
Trust, is driven by Dr Henrietta Bowden-Jones and
boasts an 84% success rate in helping problematic 
gamblers overcome their addiction.


Problem gambling affects 0.9 % of the population, which is equal to about half a million people in the UK, and is the fastest growing social problem amongst the population.

The initiative will be part-funded by the Professional Players Federation (PPF) and the PCA’s Benevolent Fund, and aims to support those in need either at the clinic or remotely, educating all of its members on the pitfalls of becoming addicted to gambling, the consequences and how to protect themselves.

Earlier this year, Craig Spearman spoke for the first time about his issues with gambling, explaining, "Gambling was a part of my life from my early years and in reality became a problem sometime in my twenties. When personal problems in my life snowballed several years ago, it caused my problem to escalate and become destructive. It's caused me and people around me huge heartache. At times the pain and self-loathing has pushed me to the brink. I've tried many types of therapy, some of which were good and some not so good. In recent times, learning and understanding myself as an individual and adhering to strict disciplines has lead me away from gambling and onto a better path for the future. By talking about it, I hope I can bring attention to the wider issues of gambling and the devastation it can bring to individuals and families.” 

Jason Ratcliffe, PCA Assistant CEO, said, "We're really excited to have teamed up with Dr Bowen-Jones and her staff at the UK's only specialist NHS gambling centre. To offer this service regionally will have an enormous impact for those in need. The education process, involving workshops for current players around the country, training for our Personal Development Managers and at our Rookie Camp in February 2014, will hopefully play a big part in ensuring that members understand all of the issues around gambling. We're not anti-gambling and recognise that many people enjoy gambling responsibly, but we need to ensure proper guidance is available as early in a player’s life as possible.’’

Dr Bowden-Jones, said, "This partnership with the PCA is ground-breaking. We are keen to help sportsmen and women, who are as susceptible as anybody else to these issues but may find it difficult to ask for help because of their professional profile.

‘‘Problem gambling affects 0.9% of the population and we have treated all professional groups. In my opinion, it is vital that the work that goes into identifying the problems happens early, and that once identified, these sportsmen and women are able to access treatment immediately. This will prevent serious damage, not just to the individual but to the sporting world in general.

Once problem gambling takes over your life, it is impossible to focus on the game and your performance can be seriously impacted on. The negative consequences of addiction are not only felt by the individual, but by their families and team members, and can even affect the country's sporting achievements.”

The service will complement the more general, specialist support provided to all our members by LPP, including a bespoke confidential helpline.

The PCA's network also includes recovered gambler and author of the book 'Overcoming Gambling', Philip Mawer, who continues to provide direct support to PCA members as required.

Any PCA member who has a concern and would like to discuss this further should contact the PCA Confidential Helpline on 0844 800 6873 (UK calls) and +44 (0) 1373 858080 (International calls).

Download the team leaflet and poster

For more information, please contact:   

PCA Confidential Helpline 

Jason Ratcliffe, PCA Assistant CEO: 07768 558050

Dr Henrietta Bowden-Jones: h.bowdenjones02@imperial.ac.uk