The levy forms part of six new principles published by GambleAware today (27 April), which were formed to combat gambling harms that could be exacerbated by the cost of living crisis, continuing financial issues from the Covid-19 pandemic and a increased shift to online gaming.
The charity had previously said that it hoped to see a mandatory levy implemented earlier this month, as part of its its submission to the Department of Digital Culture, Media and Sport’s (DCMS) Gambling Act review.
The levy would fund treatment and research into gambling harms. For 2019 to 2020, GGR totalled at £14.1bn, meaning the levy would raise around £140m.
Currently, operators provide voluntary funding towards research, education and treatment, but GambleAware said paying the levy should instead be a mandatory condition to receive a licence in the UK.
The second principle that GambleAware listed to combat harm was a reduction in equality, as evidence has suggested that those from deprived communities are the most at risk of developing gambling problems. GambleAware explained that this was heavily linked to rising costs of living.
Supporting early intervention for problem gamblers is also included as a priority. This, GambleAware said, could mean more early help is offered by non-NHS providers, so the NHS can focus on care for more complex cases.
The three remaining principles are innovation-driven support, collaborative expertise from treatment professionals and a culture of change among investors.
“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,” said Zoë Osmond, CEO of GambleAware. “Without action now, many more people and families could suffer.
“That’s why we are calling on the government to introduce a mandatory, 1% levy of GGR on the gambling industry as a condition of licence. This could be delivered in a matter of months and could almost treble the amount of funding going to preventing and treating gambling harms.”
Last week GambleAware announced a £2.5m expansion to its Gambling Education Hubs across England and Wales.