Gamblers wanting to kick the addiction should be offered the help of a GP and even medication, health chiefs say.
A first-ever official guide from NHS regulator the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence is a major step towards treating betting addiction as a health problem.
Nice said family doctors should ask patients with mental illness, alcoholics and drug users if they have a gambling problem.
You can get betting app blocking software, cognitive behavioral therapy, or even an addiction medication called naltrexone to address the problem.
Naltrexone inhibits food cravings and is prescribed for people addicted to painkillers or alcohol.
It is the first time that a drug has been officially recommended for gambling.
An estimated 300,000 Brits are addicted to betting.
Professor Jonathan Benger, chief medical officer at the University of Nice, said: “Harmful gambling causes great suffering to all those affected by it.”
“We want those who need help or are at risk to be identified more quickly and receive help.
“This advice will help NHS hospitals develop their services.”
Zoe Osmond, CEO of the charity GambleAware, said: “Gambling harm is a serious public health issue that can affect anyone.”
Gambling is classified as harmful if it leads to financial difficulties, psychological problems or arguments with partners, friends and family.
Almost four million people in the UK have been affected by a loved one’s bets.
The NHS is treating hundreds of patients at 12 specialist gambling clinics in England, with three more set to open after referrals increased by 65 per cent since 2021.
Claire Murdoch, NHS mental health director, said: “Gambling addiction is a cruel disease that destroys people’s lives.
“This new policy will ensure the NHS can help even more people struggling with gambling addiction receive evidence-based treatment.”
Nice will hold a consultation on its new recommendations until November 15.
GambleAware offers free, private help and advice via its website or the 24/7 helpline on 0808 8020 133.