GambleAware renews call for mandatory levy on gaming operators

The NHS has said it will no longer work with GambleAware.
The NHS has said it will no longer work with GambleAware.

The industry-backed charity wants the UK to impose a 1 per cent levy on gross gambling yield.

UK.- The industry-based responsible gambling charity body GambleAware has renewed its call for a mandatory 1 per cent levy on gross gambling yield (GGY) to fund research and treatment. It says that amid the current economic climate, there is “a potential increased risk of people experiencing gambling harms”.

It’s published an agenda for change featuring six principles, one of which is the introduction of a levy which the charity wants to be enforced as a licensing condition. The renewed call comes after the UK’s National Health Service said it would no longer work with GambleAware due to the body’s dependence on the gaming industry for voluntary contributions.

“The gambling industry should take the necessary and responsible steps in response to rising financial and economic hardship across the country by committing at least 1 per cent of GGY to treatment, prevention and research – raising £140m annually,” it said.

Many operators already contribute this amount on a voluntary basis, but GambleAware believes a mandatory levy would “provide stability and the best-in-class solutions to prevent gambling harms” and “enable better longer-term planning and commissioning for services”.

CEO Zoë Osmond said: “The ongoing impact of the pandemic, a growing cost-of-living crisis and shift to online gambling means there is a potential increased risk of people experiencing gambling harms that remains unseen until an individual reaches a crisis point.

“Without action now, many more people and families could suffer. That’s why we are calling on the government to introduce a mandatory 1 per cent levy of GGY on the gambling industry as a condition of licence.”

GambleAware’s five other principles include support for deprived communities that are at-risk from gambling harm, delivery of local prevention and treatment services, a data-led and use of an innovation-driven approach.

It also wants to create a coalition of expertise and wants scrutiny of gambling industry investments on a health, environmental, social and governance basis.

GambleAware welcomes tighter gambling advertising rules in the UK

GambleAware’s chief communications officer Alexia Clifford has welcomed the Committee of Advertising Practice’s (CAP) new rules on gambling advertising announced earlier this month. Writing in the advertising industry media outlet Campaign, she said the body endorses a precautionary approach to protect minors. 

She wrote: “As the leading charity working to prevent gambling harms, we strongly support all efforts to help prevent gambling harm among children and young people. 

“Younger generations growing up today are having to navigate an entirely different world through online and social media and are often surrounded by new technologies and ways to interact and engage online. This is especially important when considering the rise of social media influencers and the growing level of influence celebrities can have on young people and youth culture.”

The CAP’s new rules prohibit the use of celebrities who are well-known among minors. 

Last week, GambleAware announced that it was investing £2.5m to expand The Gambling Education Hub Service (GEHS) across England and Wales after a pilot in Scotland. It’s made the investment in the form of a grant to the safer gambling charity GamCare, which is developing the service with YGAM and the Adferiad Recovery.

GEHS aims to help prevent gambling harm among young people via education and early intervention. Some 3,000 professionals and volunteers took part in the Scottish pilot, after which 92 per cent of practitioners said they felt confident identifying signs of gambling harm. That compared to 35 per cent before their training.

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