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GambleAware calls for mandatory 1% levy to prevent gambling harms crisis

The charity has launched six new principles in response to perfect storm of soaring cost of living, regional inequality, fallout from the pandemic and rise of online gambling

  • Growing cost-of-living crisis, ongoing financial impact of the pandemic, and shift to online gambling means there could be an increased risk of people experiencing gambling harms
  • To prevent this, GambleAware has published six new principles designed to help prevent gambling harm, including introduction of a mandatory levy and calling for a coalition of expertise to reduce inequality.
  • Within these principles, GambleAware is calling on the Government to introduce a mandatory 1% levy of Gross Gambling Yield (GGY) on the gambling industry as a condition of licence
  • Levy would raise around £140 million annually - based on 2019-2020 Gross Gambling Yield (GGY) to fund treatment, prevention and research of gambling harms at time of need

London, 27 April 2022:  A growing cost-of-living crisis, ongoing financial impact of the pandemic, and shift to online gambling means there is a potential increased risk of people experiencing gambling harms. Without action now, there is a risk many more people and families could suffer.

In response, GambleAware has today published six new principles, setting out what needs to be done to prevent gambling harms. Within these principles, the charity is calling on the Government to introduce a mandatory 1% levy of Gross Gambling Yield (GGY) on the gambling industry as a condition of license, renewing a position it has held for many years.

The total gross gambling yield (GGY) in Great Britain was £14.1bn for 2019-20201. The gambling industry should take the necessary and responsible steps in response to rising financial and economic hardship across the country by committing at least 1% of GGY to treatment, prevention, and research – raising £140 million annually2. This should no longer be voluntary but instead a mandatory levy to provide stability and the best-in-class solutions to prevent gambling harms. Such a funding model would enable better longer-term planning and commissioning for services to prevent gambling harms. Over 90% of treatment for gabling harm is accessed outside the NHS, more sustainable funding would help protect the NHS and allow it to focus primarily on treatment for those with more complex needs.

A mandatory levy of 1% GGY would help fund an urgent focus on delivering a public health approach to gambling harms – one that prioritises local action through a national framework that brings together a coalition of expertise. This will deliver targeted, innovative and effective prevention services that save lives. In March 2022, GambleAware’s latest Treatment and Support Survey was published, which estimated that up to 1.4 million people in Great Britain are already at risk of gambling harm, which equates to around 5% of gamblers in the UK3. GambleAware already works to bring together the NHS, local authorities and other third sector organisations alongside those with lived experience of gambling harms to embed prevention and early intervention at all levels.

Findings from Gambling-related harms evidence review by Public Health England (PHE)4 reveal that ‘the socio-demographic profile of gamblers appears to change as gambling risk increases, with harmful gambling associated with people who are unemployed and among people living in more deprived areas, suggesting harmful gambling is related to health’ inequalities. This is why increased funding will help reduce disparities and ensure people get the support they need, which is right and specific to them and their needs, before they experience serious harm. We can only achieve this by reaching all communities and engaging at a local level to reduce gambling harm in a way that central Government sometimes cannot.

Zoë Osmond, Chief Executive Officer at GambleAware, said: The ongoing impact of the pandemic, a growing cost-of-living crisis and shift to online gambling means there is a potential increased risk of people experiencing gambling harms that remains unseen until an individual reaches a crisis point.

“Without action now, many more people and families could suffer. That’s why we are calling on the Government to introduce a mandatory, 1% levy of GGY on the gambling industry as a condition of licence. This could be delivered in a matter of months and could almost treble the amount of funding going to preventing and treating gambling harms.”

Our principles for a transparent engagement with Government and stakeholders through and after the white paper.

We believe in:

  1. Supporting those most at risk by reducing inequalities 
    The gambling industry must not be allowed to profit from the cost-of-living crisis affecting some of the Britain’s most at-risk communities. Evidence suggests those from the most deprived communities are most at risk of gambling harms. As financial hardships accelerate the risks of experiencing gambling harm, dedicated messaging, education, treatment and support must be increased to prevent people from experiencing harm from gambling.
     
  2. Mandatory levy as a licence condition
    The industry should take the necessary and responsible steps to address and prevent gambling harms, by committing at least 1% of GGY to treatment, prevention and research. This should no longer be voluntary but instead be a mandatory levy.
     
  3. Recognising prevention and support to reach all communities
    Most people experiencing gambling harm need early intervention through prevention and support programmes. Charities have a specific role to play, which enables local action within a national framework, to deliver locally led prevention and treatment services. This requires reaching all communities in a way government cannot, by tailoring to local need and reaching the most deprived communities. With over 90% of treatment for gambling harm accessed outside the NHS, this approach helps protect the service and allows the NHS to focus primarily on treatment for those with more complex needs.
     
  4. Targeted, innovation-driven support
    Our work is underpinned by independent, robust research and evaluation to understand gambling harms. This enables the creation and delivery of an agile, data-led, and innovation-driven approach to prevention and treatment.
     
  5. A coalition of expertise
    A coalition of expertise is needed to deliver the broad spectrum of research, prevention and treatment locally and nationally. Lived experience, the voluntary sector and NHS need to work together under a national framework to achieve the same objective of preventing and mitigating gambling harms.
     
  6. Investors must push for change
    Investments in the gambling industry should be scrutinised through a Health, Environmental, Social and Governance lens in the same way as other harm-causing sectors. This will force long-term change in industry behaviour, ending products and practices that cause harm and help to create a society which is safe from gambling harm. 

GambleAware has also published its first Impact Report which is available to view here

An updated briefing note about GambleAware has also been published

-ENDS-

Note to Editors:

  1. https://www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk/about-us/statistics-and-research
  2. Based on 2019-2020 GGY
  3. YouGov research on behalf of GambleAware in March 2022: https://www.begambleaware.org/news/new-research-gambling-harms
  4. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/gambling-related-harms-evidence-review/gambling-related-harms-evidence-review-summary

Contact:

+447523 609413

gambleaware@atlas-partners.co.uk

About GambleAware

  • GambleAware is the leading charity (Charity No. England & Wales 1093910, Scotland SC049433) commissioning the transformation of treatment and prevention services, leading public health campaigns and keeping people safe from gambling harms.
  • Gambling can harm people and their families financially, psychologically and physically. GambleAware works in close collaboration with leading organisations and experts including the NHS, government, local authorities and gambling treatment providers, to ensure that people get the information, support and treatment they need.
  • Every year GambleAware funds access to free, confidential treatment for nearly 12,000 people and over 41,000 calls to the National Gambling Helpline.
  • GambleAware is a commissioner of independent evidence-informed prevention and treatment services in partnership with expert organisations and agencies across Great Britain, with over £56 million of funding under active management.
  • In partnership with gambling treatment providers, GambleAware has spent several years methodically building structures for commissioning a coherent system of brief intervention and treatment services, with clearly defined care pathways and established referral routes to and from the NHS – a National Gambling Treatment Service.
  • The National Gambling Treatment Service brings together a National Gambling Helpline and a network of locally-based providers across Great Britain that works with partner agencies and people with lived experience to design and deliver a system, which meets the needs of individuals. This system delivers a range of treatment services, including brief intervention, counselling (delivered either face-to-face or online), residential programmes and psychiatrist led care.
  • In April 2021 GambleAware published a new five-year strategy which defined the charity’s vision of a society where people are safe from gambling harms. This vision is based on a whole-system approach, which acknowledges the many other organisations, networks and individuals, including those who have lived experience of gambling harms, that already play a key role across the system, or have the potential to do so in the future. Alongside this, GambleAware outlined its four key strategic priorities and four commissioning objectives which will help guide the charity as it strives to achieve its vision.
  • GambleAware produces public health campaigns including ‘Bet Regret’ and its Women’s Gambling Harm Prevention campaign. The charity is responsible for the design and delivery of the campaign based on best practice in public health education. See: www.begambleaware.org/for-professionals/safer-gambling-campaign and https://www.begambleaware.org/advice-tools-support.