Five of the UK’s largest gambling operators have recently stated that they will be coming together to “address gambling-related harm” by raising their voluntary charity levy that helps to address the UK’s gambling problem and addictions. These five major gambling operators collaborating on this increase in funds are as follows: Bet 365, GVC, Paddy Power Betfair, SkyBet and William Hill.
These five major figures in the gambling industry have proposed this plan to the UK Government, stating that they are wanting to increase the voluntary charity levy paid in by the gambling operators. This proposed increase is from 0.1% to 1% of the operators’ individual, annual income.
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport were informed of this increase in a letter, this letter claiming that the collaboration of these five major gambling operators has the goal of addressing “gambling-related harm with the priority of protecting the young and vulnerable.”
The operators have further stated that through this increase in funds, the collaborative body are attempting to “address issues proactively to avoid government regulation that is counterproductive to the industry” and that they would further “undertake a consultation process with the relevant stakeholders to develop a long-term plan to protect the young and vulnerable from gambling-related harm and to ensure a rapid expansion of treatment provision for problem gamblers.”
This charity levy raised an impressive £10 million last year, all of which went to the independent charity GambleAware. This charity is directed by the National strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms, and helps to tackle addiction and other aspects of problem gambling through research, instilling various prevention tactics and offering treatment to those suffering from gambling related harm.
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has stated that it has been in contact with the gambling operators, and have discussed the issues arising from problem gambling at length. The five operators aim to focus on improving four major aspects; these being firstly to fund the mission of tackling the harms that problem gambling can bring, ensuring advertisements for gambling sites are more ethical, improving treatment for problem gambling sufferers and further to increase the sharing of information across the entirety of licensed gambling operators.
The Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Jeremy Wright has made a public statement reflecting upon these changes, stating that “The proposal made this morning will deliver substantially increased support for problem gamblers this year.” However, “it is important to stress two things. First that these voluntary contributions must and will be transparent, including to the regulator, and if they are not made we will know.”
In addition to this, Mr Wright reflected upon the damages that have been caused by problem gambling, commenting that “Problem gambling can devastate lives, families and communities.” And further, “While we all want a healthy gambling industry that makes an important contribution to the economy, we also need on that does all it can to protect those that use it.”