UK gambling companies have decided to contribute more funds to problem gambling treatment. Four gambling providers, Paddy Power Betfair, Skybet, Bet 365 and William Hill will increase the voluntary tax on gambling revenues from 0,1% to 1% which will bring up to $60 million until 2023.
With a significant contribution to the gambling sector, four companies will make a step further in tackling gambling addiction after significant criticism regarding expenses. Only recently, chief executive at NHS England, Simons Stevens, said that betting firms can pay additional tax for problem gambling purposes. Further on, Stevens observed a discrepancy between the amount spent on gambling advertising and marketing compared to money spent on addiction treatment. The companies have just revealed that they will spend about €100m on addiction treatment over the next several years.
BBC has recently published the news on gambling addiction challenge. The industry should react to this problem as soon as possible:
“The industry is on a precipice – if we don’t get ahead of this, we will end up where the alcohol industry was 10 years ago, and tobacco 30 years ago.
“The fear is that we face a ban on touchline advertising or football shirt sponsorship.”
Reacting to the problem, chief executive at Flutter Entertainment, Peter Jackson said:
„The agreement marked an unprecedented level of commitment and collaboration by the leading companies in the British betting and gaming sector to address gambling-related harm. We think that is an important step to make. We do think we need to increase the amount of money that is available to protect the young and vulnerable.”
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Chief Executive of charity at Gamble Aware, Marc Etches observed:
“We welcome this initiative by the leading operators as it’s essential there is sufficient funding to provide for treatment and support for both problem gamblers and for those who are ‘at risk’ – particularly the young and vulnerable.
“Customers should be able to gamble in a safe environment, where help and advice are readily available at the point of need.
“It is vital that we work closely with the commission, government and other organizations to ensure that operators continue to focus on making gambling products safer, and that treatment and support is properly funded alongside other initiatives including the Safer Gambling campaign, Bet Regret.”
According to the UK Gambling Commission report, there are about 430,000 people with some kind of gambling addiction all over the country. This number rises to 2 million if we include all people with the risk of gambling addiction. It is worth mentioning that about 50,000 people are children or young individuals between 11 to 16.
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Gambling, and Sport, Jeremy Wright, mentioned that the gambling industry should tackle problem betting and contribute to the costs of treatment. She said:
“We will monitor closely the progress of these new measures and encourage the wider industry to step up. The government will not hesitate to take further action to protect people from gambling-related harm.”
All firms have additionally agreed to change the tone and message of gambling-related material. It means that UK companies will include safer gambling messages in adverts as well as in marketing material.