In the United Kingdom, last week saw the National Casino Forum trade group announce that its members had voluntarily agreed for the very first time to donate a minimum of 0.1% of their annual gross gaming yields to the GambleAware responsible gambling charity.

The National Casino Forum represents some 97% of the nation’s land-based casino operators and declared that the new GambleAware guarantee is designed to exhibit its ‘commitment to meet or exceed the voluntary annual funding target for the sector’.

As part of their licensing conditions, every one of the United Kingdom’s casino operators are required to make annual financial contributions to organizations that conduct research into ways of minimizing gambling-related harm while also developing prevention and treatment programs. GambleAware was established under an agreement between the industry, government and the Gambling Commission regulator in 2012 to raise cash for the implementation of the National Responsible Gambling Strategy but last year revealed that it was 20% short of its annual fundraising target of £10 million ($13.45 million) despite a record number of donations.

Tracy Damestani, Chief Executive for the National Casino Forum, stated that most of the United Kingdom’s casino operators had previously channeled their minimum donations to GambleAware through her trade body while moreover often giving to other charities. But, the new guarantee means that her group has now changed its membership terms in order to earmark the full 0.1% of annual gross gaming yields to GambleAware with any contributions to other charities classed as in addition to this amount and documented separately.

Damestani described the new funding pledge as an ‘historic commitment’ that is to be underpinned by the introduction of a ‘transparent new payment system’.

“The casino sector has always supported fundraising for research, education and treatment and casino operators are determined to go beyond both the letter and the spirit of the act in their support for responsible and safer gambling,” read a statement from Damestani. “They want to ensure that research, education, prevention and treatment programs are fully funded across the gambling industry.”

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