Last week it was reported that the largest gambling firms operating within the UK are to increase the voluntary levy they pay, which in turn is used to fund problem gambling projects. GVC Holdings the owners of Ladbrokes Coral, William Hill, Sky Bet, Paddy Power Betfair and Stoke based bet365 have between them pledged to increase the levy amount they pay each year from 0.1% of profits to 1% of profits.
This increase which will occur in stages up until 2023, will see a combined increase of £60m that the gambling firms will pay. This move has come about after much public criticism in the UK, that gambling operators are not doing enough to combat problem gambling, while each year the industry as a whole is spending in excess of £1bn in advertising in the UK alone.
There has of late been much outspoken criticism of the industry particularly from politicians, with Labour Deputy Leader, Tom Watson, making the reform of the 2005 Gambling Act one of his main policy drivers.
Only last week both Ladbrokes Coral and William Hill announced planned shop closures over the next 18 months to 2 years, as the financial hit from the reduction in the FOBT machine maximum stake bites.
This morning Casino Gazette also reported on William Hill’s CEO Philip Bowcock warning of ‘draconian measures’ which will force online bettors and casino players to move to offshore unregulated operations.
Commenting on the decision to voluntary increase the levy that these five companies have committed to, Peter Jackson, CEO of Paddy Power Betfair owner Flutter Entertainment said: “The agreement set an unprecedented level of commitment and collaboration by the leading companies in the British betting and gaming sector to address gambling-related harm”
Whilst responsible gambling charity GambleAware through their CEO Marc Etches commented: “We welcome this initiative by the leading operators as it’s essential there is sufficient funding to provide for treatment and support for both problem gamblers and for those who are ‘at risk’ – particularly the young and vulnerable.”
“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 commission, government and other organisations 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 Safer Gambling campaign, Bet Regret.”