Wednesday, 17 June 2020

Five UK Gambling Operators Pledge £100M To Help Problem Gambling

Gambling Online

Five of the UK’s biggest gambling operators have this week announced that they will spend £100 million to help improve problem gambling treatment services.

Operators GVC Holdings,  Sky Betting and Gaming, William Hill, Paddy Power Betfair, and Bet365 all agreed to provide gambling charity GambleAware with the funds. According to reports, the firm will act as the main commissioning agent and will ensure that the money provided will reach those who are in need of treatment.

The news comes several months after several of the mentioned operators agreed to increase the amount of money they spend on the research, education, and treatment of gambling addiction. Their funds increased from 0.1% to 0.25% of their annual revenue this year and will continue to increase to 0.5% in 2021, 0.75% in 2022, and then 1% in 2023.

Michael Dugher, the Chief Executive of the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC), said in a statement: “As the new body representing the regulated betting and gaming industry, we are committed to driving up standards. This latest funding commitment is yet more evidence of the industry’s determination to improve the quality and provision of treatment for problem gamblers – and of our members’ eagerness to get on with it as quickly as possible.”

What They Say

Matt Hancock, the UK’s Health Secretary, praised the news, saying: “I’ve seen first hand how problem gambling can damage people’s mental health and affect the lives of those around them – and I’ve been determined to help protect vulnerable people from the impacts. The government will continue to tackle the consequences of problem gambling by rolling our specialist services on the NHS, which will offer expert care and treatment for those who need it.”

Finally, Peter Jackson, the CEO of Flutter Entertainment, added: “GambleAware has a long track record in commissioning treatment services and working with providers for the benefit of problem gamblers. Through the provision of this unprecedented level of financial support, we aim to achieve a step-change in the treatment and counselling available to those experiencing gambling-related harm.

“As an industry, we are taking significant strides to build in further protections for customers. From increasing safer gambling messages in response to COVID-19, to a £10 million nationwide education initiative targeting all 11-19-year-olds across the country, we are creating a safer environment for our customers while devoting resources to protecting the vulnerable and under-age.”

The news comes just days after a group of cross-party MPs released a report calling for an end to all gambling advertising. The MPs also urged for an end to VIP schemes and loyalty programmes, as well as mandatory affordability checks, and a maximum £2 stake limit on video slots.