UK shadow minister calls for reform of funding for gambling support

An independent inquiry will deliver a report in the summer.
An independent inquiry will deliver a report in the summer.

Jeff Smith MP has called on the government to broaden the range of projects funded.

UK.-  Shadow education minister Jeff Smith MP has urged the UK government to include reforms of problem gambling funding in its long-delayed gambling white paper. Speaking at a parliamentary reception held by Ygam, he said funding should be directed to broader services.

“It is absolutely vital that the white paper gives a clear steer on funding for those in the sector, and we must also recognise that funding should not be limited to treatment provision alone,” Smith said.

“We need to be focused on preventing harm as well as tackling it when it has been able to develop. That is where charities like Ygam really come into their own, and part of the government’s responsibilities in this white paper is to address the concerns around the sustainability of their services and provisions.”

Funding has been one of the major issues of debate during the long process of developing the white paper. At one stage, it was reported that the government had ruled out the possibility of introducing a mandatory levy on gambling operators to fund research, treatment and prevention, something that had been called for by charities such as GambleAware but had been resisted by industry lobby group the Betting and Gaming Council.

Ygam 2023 strategy 

Former gambling minister Damian Collins also spoke at the Ygam-hosted reception, praising the organisation’s work. Meanwhile, Ygam presented its 2023 strategy with a focus on educating children and young people between the ages of seven and 25 on gambling harm. 

Ygam chief executive  Dr Jane Rigbye said: “The digital world offers huge opportunities, but with those opportunities come risks, particularly for young people who live in an increasingly digitised world,” said“We have a clear purpose, we deliver evidence-based programmes, and we are focused on understanding and continuously improving our impact.

“We want to ensure that universal education and prevention is seen as an essential part of the public health response to gambling and gaming, and that it is adequately funded over the long term. Ygam are here to demonstrate that delivering effective prevention education to all young people is achievable, worthwhile, and will save lives.”

It remains unclear when the government will finally publish its gambling white paper, which has been delayed by a year. At the start of December, Paul Scully, who took over responsibility for gambling from Collins, said the proposed legislation would be published “in a few weeks”.

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