Leading UK operators to establish RG funding committee
The “Big Five” leading UK betting and gaming companies are to establish an independent committee to recommend how best to allocate funding for responsible gambling and the treatment of problem gambling, with Conservative Party peer Lord Chadlington to serve as its chair.
The peer has been asked by the five – bet365, Flutter Entertainment (owner of Paddy Power and Betfair), GVC (owner of Ladbrokes Coral), Sky Betting and Gaming, and William Hill – to establish and chair the committee. Other appointments are to be announced in September, with the committee's recommendations on the most appropriate mechanisims for receiving and administering funds, as well as monitoring their deployment, to be published before the end of the year.
Committee members will not be paid for their work, while the operators will cover any administrative costs.
“The committee will consult widely to formulate its recommendations taking account in particular of the views of government, regulators, the third sector, gambling operators and those with lived experience,” Chadlington said. “I am pleased to accept the invitation to chair this committee particularly as the five gambling companies are committed to implementing any reasonable recommendations it may make. I will announce the membership of the committee by mid-September.”
The move is the latest step by the five to make gambling safer for UK customers.
In June, the companies made a commitment to raise the current voluntary contribution towards funding problem gambling from 0.1% to 1% of gross gambling yield by 2023. That contribution is estimated to reach £60m (€67.1m/$75.7m) per year by 2023. Each brand will provide regular updates on efforts to improve customer safeguards, and have committed to adding more responsible gaming messaging to advertising and share problem gambling data.
The companies also committed to a 'whistle-to-whistle' ban on advertising around live sport, effective yesterday (1 August). GVC has also called for a total ban on broadcast advertising by gambling operators, and committed to ending all football shirt sponsorship deals, an initiative also adopted by Paddy Power, through its “Save Our Shirt” campaign.
“We are absolutely committed to providing further funding toward treatment and other responsible gambling initiatives, and we believe the committee will identify and recommend how best to deploy effectively this investment,” a spokesperson for the five companies said. “We believe this is an important step towards creating a safer gambling environment and look forward to reviewing and implementing its recommendations later this year.”
Lord Chadlington founded the public relations firm Shandwick in 1974 and is a non-executive director of childcare company Britax. In addition to his role as a peer, he is the president of the Witney Conservative constituency association. From 1999 until 2007, Chadlington was a Director of the charity Action on Addiction and in January of this year, he spoke in the House of Lords to argue that the NHS must “submit gambling to the same forensic analysis adopted for the use of alcohol or tobacco.”