Five members of the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) have pledged to spend £100m ($125.4m) to improve treatment support services for problem gamblers. The five members namely: Bet365, GVC, William Hill, PaddyPower Betfair and Sky Betting and Gaming (both of which are under Flutter Entertainment) will directly furnish funds to the GambleAware charity, an NGO committed to tackling and minimising gambling harm, will serve as the main commissioning body that will ensure that funds will reach the people who require counselling and treatment.
These operators have already pledged to increase their spending on research, education and treatment services from the current 0.1 percent of their annual revenue to 1 percent in the next 5 years. The increase is as follows: 0.25 percent in 2020, 0.5 percent in 2021, 0.75 percent in 2022 and 1 percent in 2023.
Also, other larger betting and gaming operators will continue to donate 0.1 percent of their annual revenue to GambleAware’s funding for research, education and treatment while other BGC members will furnish an additional £3.8 million of funding to the BetRegret 2020, an advertising campaign that aims to promote responsible gambling and how to achieve it.
Peter Jackson, Chief Executive Officer of Flutter Entertainment, mentioned, “GambleAware has a long track record in commissioning treatment services and working with providers for the benefit of problem gamblers. Through the provision of this unprecedented level of financial support, we aim to achieve a step-change in the treatment and counselling available to those experiencing gambling-related harm.”
He also added, “As an industry, we are taking significant strides to build in further protections for customers. From increasing safer gambling messages in response to Covid-19, to a £10 million nationwide education initiative targeting all 11-19 years olds across the country, we are creating a safer environment for our customers while devoting resources to protecting the vulnerable and under-age.”
The BGC has also confirmed that £2.5 million will be made available to the YGAM / GamCare gambling education project in this financial year.
With this latest funding announcement, Health Secretary Matt Hancock joined in the news and congratulated the BGC for its efforts in making steady strides towards an overall safer gambling experience and problem gambling management and services for everyone in the country.
He expressed his delight and own determination upon learning that the Betting and Gaming council is taking the necessary steps to support treatment and provision the necessary facilities for problem gamblers as he had experienced the hardships firsthand as he explained, “I’ve seen firsthand how problem gambling can damage people’s mental health and affect the lives of those around them – and I’ve been determined to help protect vulnerable people from the impacts.”
He also emphasised the Government’s continued efforts towards tackling the consequences of problem gambling by rolling out specialised services which provide expert care and treatment to people who need it the most.
Minister for Sport Nigel Huddleston also expressed his thoughts on the news and said, “I welcome the Betting and Gaming Council now outlining how it will deliver on leading operators’ pledges to bolster research, education and treatment. We will monitor closely the progress of these new measures and continue to encourage the wider industry to step up.”