Saturday, 6 July 2019

Gambling Firms Pledge To Increase Funding And Support For Addicts

Several of the UK’s largest gambling firms have promised to increase funding and support for gambling addicts.

The owners of Skybet, William Hill, Ladbrokes Coral, Paddy Power Betfair and Bet365 have all agreed to increase their voluntary levy on gambling profits from 0.1% to 1% by 2023.

It’s reported that the increase will raise around £60 million annually and will be a “change” in how the firms tackle addiction. They also confirmed that they will be spending £100 million cumulatively on gambling addiction treatment over the next four years.

The move comes after mounting pressure from the government and health officials over how little the gambling industry spends to help addicts compared to its advertising budget. The firms have since stated that they are committed to reviewing the “tone and content” of their advertising while pushing for safer gambling as the UK Gambling Commission monitors their progress.

According to reports, the move is the latest to make the industry more responsible. Just last month, the NHS announced it would be opening its first-ever gambling clinic for children while also expanding on the number of clinics available to adults throughout the country.

The UK Gambling Commission has estimated that there are around 340,000 gambling addicts in the United Kingdom whose addictions are having a disastrous effect on themselves and their family. Of the 340,000, around 55,000 are children and young people aged between 11 and 16.

What They Say

Peter Jackson, the Chief Executive of Flutter Entertainment, said in a statement: “This is an unprecedented level of commitment and collaboration by the leading companies in the British betting and gaming sector to address gambling-related harm and promote safer gambling.

“The whistle-to-whistle advertising ban was a good start; now we are funding a significant expansion in treatment and we continue to work on a number of areas of collaboration and best practice. Our aim is nothing less than a step change in how we tackle gambling-related harm.”

Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright added: “The gambling industry has a responsibility to tackle problem gambling and contribute to the cost of treatment to rebuild the lives of those affected.

“I welcome the commitments of five leading gambling operators today to significantly increase the funding they provide. We will monitor closely the progress of these new measures and encourage the wider industry to step up. The government will not hesitate to take further action to protect people from gambling-related harm.”