Betting firms should be forced to support addicts


Charity hits out at companies not paying promised levy 

31st October 2017 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

Gambling firms should be forced to pay a levy to help treat gambling addicts, a charity has said.

GambleAware said firms were not honouring a pledge to contribute funds for addiction treatment and as such should now be forced by the UK government to pay up.

A long-awaited government review into the regulation of gambling machines and advertising will be published today (31 October) which is expected to recommend that the maximum £100 stake on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) be reduced due to concerns about their links to addiction.

FOBTS have been dubbed the “crack cocaine” of gambling and are proven to be hugely addictive.

GambleAware said that, regardless of the review’s outcome, firms should be made to pay a statutory levy devoted to helping problem gamblers.

Chief executive, Marc Etches, said that the industry had yet to demonstrate that it was “sufficiently willing to meet the current target, much less that it [was] minded to voluntarily meet the increased funding that will be necessary to improve research, education and treatment services.”

“On this basis, GambleAware has determined that it would wish to see the introduction of a statutory levy,” he said.

 GambleAware believes treatment costs are likely to rise after the number of problem gamblers hit 430,000, less than 2% of whom are getting help.

As part of its tougher stance, the charity will reveal companies’ donations from next year and ask them to self-certify their contribution by publishing a figure.

The charity has previously accused companies of making “nominal” donations – as little, even, as £1.