The industry-backed grant-awarding body has published the details of donations received in the year ending March 31.
UK.- GambleAware has published details of donations for the 12 months ending March 31. The total for voluntary donations from the gambling industry is £34.7m.
The leading “Big Four” operators are responsible for donating 89 per cent (£30.9 million) of the total amount for the year. This is reflective of their previous commitment to raise the percentage of GGY they donate in increments from 0.1 per cent to 1 per cent by 2023/2024.
GambleAware said that although the total figure donated across the industry equates to nearly £15m more than the donations received in 2020/21, it remains significantly short of the estimated amount a mandatory levy would raise. This reflects the uncertain and inconsistent approach to the funding of treatment, prevention and research of gambling harms across the industry, it said.
GambleAware is calling for a funding model which is no longer voluntary, but instead a mandatory levy to provide stable funding and best-in-class solutions to prevent gambling harms. It says such a funding model would enable better longer-term planning and commissioning for services to prevent gambling harms.
Zoë Osmond, CEO of GambleAware, said: “These donations fund essential services for the prevention of gambling harms, helping build a coalition of expertise to tackle and prevent gambling harms across Great Britain.
“We welcome the commitment from the “Big Four” operators to increase their donations over the coming years, however, there remains an inconsistent approach to funding across the wider gambling industry, which leads to uncertainty and instability.
“That’s why we are calling on the government to introduce a mandatory levy on the gambling industry as a condition of licence. The gambling industry should take the necessary and responsible steps by matching its success to the scale of gambling harms risk, especially at a time of rising financial and economic hardship across the country.
“This would commit much more funding to treatment, prevention, and research per year – and could be delivered in a matter of months.”
However, Brigid Simmonds (OBE), chair of industry lobby group the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC), has warned the British government to avoid radical changes to operators’ research, education and treatment (RET) duties.
In an open editorial on the Tory party’s Conservative Home news site, Simmonds dismissed calls for a mandatory levy on operators to be included in the UK government’s publication of its gambling white paper.