GambleAware’s chief executive Zoe Osmond “welcomes” the establishment of a statutory industry levy, believing it will help to fund gambling harms research.
Proposed as one of a host of measures in the Gambling Act white paper, the new levy would be set as a 1% fee on gross gambling yield for online gambling operators. Traditional betting shops and casinos will pay a proposed fee of around 0.4%.
The government says the levy would raise an estimated £100m (€115.5m/$121.7m) per year.
The operators would pay the levy to the Gambling Commission. The hope is this will ensure all licensed operators in the UK pay their fair share. The current voluntary levy system allows operators to pay a chosen sum.
With the consultation on the statutory levy ending in mid-December, Osmond has hailed its introduction, saying: “GambleAware welcomes the introduction of a statutory industry levy to fund gambling harms research, prevention and treatment (RPT).
“This is something we have long called for and it marks an important step-change in efforts to tackle gambling harms.
“Following years of uncertainty, the levy will provide clarity of funding for the gambling harms sector, support long-term planning and prevent duplication of work.”
Statutory levy: GambleAware sees potential issues
Despite GambleAware’s overall support for the levy, Osmond also detailed a number of concerns she had over its introduction.
Osmond called for the development of a national strategy to combat gambling harm, which was not listed in the proposals. Osmond also suggested the appointment of a single commissioner, charged with prevention and treatment of gambling addiction.
GambleAware also wants a change to the proposed funding allocations, which it feels “do not adequately reflect the potential population-level benefits” of early intervention.
White paper progress
The Gambling Act review white paper, published in April 2023, outlined how the UK will look to change the manner in which gambling is regulated.
The white paper includes proposals on affordability checks, sports betting and machine numbers. Consultations started in July, with the first round on financial risk and vulnerability closing in October. Over 3,000 submissions were made in total.
The next round of consultations considers seven topics including opting in for online bonuses. It is set to close in February or March, according to Tim Miller, executive director of policy at the Commission.
The Betting & Gaming Council (BGC), which has broadly backed the white paper, has already come out in support of the planned levy. However, it calls for the levy to go further and apply to all operators, including the National Lottery.