London Groups Fight Gambling, Help Addicts

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LONDON - London residents are rallying to address the growing problem of gambling and its impact on local families.

More than 60 gambling halls are now operating in the borough of Westminster, and Christian groups not only want to shut them down -- they want to help free the addicted.

Nikki Lee, with the faith-based group London Citizens recently helped coordinate a protest against the growing number of gambling opportunities in Chinatown.

"The increasing number of gambling opportunities in Chinatown is crippling the community through family break-ups as a result of the increase in debt, domestic violence, and depression," Lee explained. "And we need to work together to put a stop to the growing problem."

The problem has gotten so bad that Peter Chan decided to start a Christian rehabilitation center for gambling addicts.

"There are already a lot of problem gamblers that we have to help, and there are not many places they can go for help -- particularly Christian organizations," Chan said. "I think for helping problem gamblers and their families, we are the only specialized organization in England."

Ex-gambler David Li found Christ and was set free from his addiction.

"Thirty-five years I was suffering from gambling effecting my whole family," he recalled. "Seriously effecting the economic relationships between my family and my brother and sister, and other relations. And, of course, my wife and children."

"I became a Christian that day and my addiction went away," Li continued. "It's amazing even if I tell you that, you won't believe it. It's in fact true that (being) addict(ed) for nearly 40 years (I have) no gambling feeling. I don't want to gamble anymore."

Li instead said he wants to help others to be set free from the addictive lifestyle.

"I believe that Jesus gave me a re-born life, and I want to give my life for something," Li said. "Because it's the only thing I know to help people because I don't have a good education."

A group of men who come to regular meetings at the rehabilitation center agree that help is desperately needed to help more people break free.

"I think it's very important because there is no other Christian place to go for help," one recovering addict said.

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London Citizens

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