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GambleAware calls for mandatory levy in Gambling Act review consultation

| By Marese O'Hagan
Independent charity GambleAware has published its submission to the Department of Digital Culture, Media and Sport’s (DCMS) Gambling Act review, specifying the need for a mandatory levy.

The submission outlines ongoing issues in the gambling sector found by GambleAware, with a particular focus on prevention of gambling harms and research to inform policy.

It comes in response to the UK government’s December 2020 review of the 2005 Gambling Act. As part of the review, the DCMS launched a call for new evidence to investigate issues such as spend limits and how gambling affects young adults.

The findings are intended to inform changes to the 2005 Gambling Act.

Most prominently, GambleAware continued its advocacy for a mandatory levy to fund research, education and treatment (RET) related to gambling and gambling-related harm.

Currently, British gambling law requires licensed British operators to donate a portion of funds to responsible gambling initiatives, but there is no minimum on how much should be donated.

GambleAware reported that in the last twelve months, it received £15.6m in voluntary donations, a rise from £11m the previous year. In June 2020 the Betting and Gaming Council pledged £100m to GambleAware on behalf of 4 largest gambling operators in Britain: Bet365, GVC Holdings, Flutter Entertainment and William Hill.

“The voluntary nature of the current arrangements results inevitably in uncertainty of funding year to year and to significant variations in cash flow within the year,” the submission reads.

“This unpredictable funding model represents a significant challenge given that a key function of GambleAware as a commissioning body is to provide assurance to funded services about recurrent income streams so that expert clinical teams can be established and sustained to provide treatment and support for those who need help.”

In addition, GambleAware pointed to various pieces of research that may help inform the review in other areas. This included research that found just 5% of accounts represent more than 70% of British betting and gaming gross gambling yield.

In March GambleAware reported a significant rise in the portion of problem gamblers who seek treatment for their gambling.

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