Some of the biggest land-based and online casino and sportsbetting operators in the United Kingdom have reportedly agreed to increase the size of their donations to the local industry’s voluntary levy on profits so as to help tackle a rise in problem gambling.
According to a report from the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), Sky Betting and Gaming, GVC Holdings, William Hill, Flutter Entertainment and Bet365 Group Limited have revealed that they are to contribute 1% of their yearly profits to the charitable levy until 2023, which is a move that is expected to add an extra £60 million ($76 million) to the fight against problem gambling.
The five reportedly described the move as ‘a step change’ in how they intend to tackle gambling addiction moving forward and additionally encompassed a pledge that they would increase the number of safer gambling messages in their adverts and review the ‘tone and content’ of their sponsorship and marketing campaigns. The operators had purportedly faced stiff criticism for previously handing over only 0.1% of their profits while spending far more on marketing efforts but detailed that they now cumulatively intend to contribute about £100 million ($126 million) over the next four years on efforts to help those with an addiction to gambling.
The BBC reported that the shift comes only a week after the National Health Service (NHS) announced plans to debut up to 14 clinics across England offering advice and support to children and young people suspected of suffering with an addiction to gambling. The Gambling Commission regulator earlier estimated that there are approximately 430,000 people in the United Kingdom afflicted with some form of a gambling addiction while around twelve percent of these are thought to be aged between eleven and 16.
Marc Etches, Chief Executive for the GambleAware problem gambling charity, reportedly welcomed the move and proclaimed that it would help organizations such as his to acquire ‘sufficient funding’ in order to offer ‘treatment and support’ for those suffering with a gambling addiction and the estimated over two million who are thought to be ‘at risk’ of developing a problem.
Etches reportedly told the BBC…
“Customers should be able to gamble in a safe environment where help and advice is readily available at the point of need. It is vital that we work closely with the [Gambling] Commission, government and other organizations to ensure that operators continue to focus on making gambling products safer and that treatment and support is properly funded alongside other initiatives including the Bet Regret safer gambling campaign.”