Sunday, 3 May 2020

UKGC Donates £9 Million From Operator Fines To GambleAware Charity

The UK Gambling Commission has donated £9 million of funds from fining gambling operators to leading problem gambling charity GambleAware.

The Commission announced the news this week, revealing that it will be donating the money obtained from regulatory settlements to the charity in a bid to provide additional help to problem gamblers during the UK’s COVID-19 lockdown.

According to reports, GambleAware, which assists the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms, and its partners will use the funds to ensure that addiction services and treatment are still widely available throughout the coronavirus pandemic. The charity will also use the funds to support services which have been hit with increased demands and those which have been moved online due to the virus outbreak.

In a post announcing the donations, the Commission spoke of research they had recently undertaken, indicating that gambling participation had actually fallen since the beginning of lockdown. However, the Commission explained that they did find evidence that some people have increased of online gambling activities such as casinos, virtual sports betting, poker, and video slots.

What They Say

William Moyes, the Chairman for the Gambling Commission, said in a statement: “In the current climate, and with the potential risks to British consumers in mind, we have fast-tracked this settlement-driven funding to GambleAware so their work to prevent gambling harms and award grants can continue seamlessly.

“In addition to a tough and flexible regulatory system, it’s vital that organisations such as GambleAware and their partners can continue the great work they do, especially at times when there is an elevated risk of gambling harm with people staying at home due to social distancing measures.”

He continued: “Through the use of regulatory action to prevent harm, such as the ban of credit for gambling, alongside the use of regulatory settlements to support treatment services, the Commission is taking wide-ranging action to address the additional risk of harm that may come from COVID-19.”

Marc Etches, the CEO of GambleAware, added: “We welcome the receipt of these regulatory settlements at this uncertain time. Guided by a public health model, GambleAware commissions prevention and treatment services across England, Scotland, and Wales in partnership with expert organisations and agencies, including the NHS. These funds will enable us to provide greater security around the funding of the National Gambling Treatment Service, and help keep people safe from gambling harms.”

In addition to the donation, the Commission has been helping the fight against problem gambling by banning credit card usage at gambling websites and shops across the UK. The regulatory organisation also recently announced that it will be looking into new measures to tighten the regulation of VIP schemes, the advertising of games, and casino game mechanics.