Industry ‘steps up’ with £100m voluntary levy contribution

As reported in a letter sent to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), as seen by the BBC, a number of the industry’s largest stakeholders are said to have voluntarily pledged an additional £100m in levy contributions in the latest move to combat problem gambling.

Reported by the BBC, key figures from William Hill, Ladbrokes Coral, Paddy Power Betfair, Skybet and Bet365 have all allegedly committed to raise the voluntary levy on gambling profits from 0.1 per cent up to one per cent over the next five years.

The move is expected to raise upwards of £100m which will be distributed towards gambling charities and problem gambling initiatives across the UK.

In response to the letter, Jeremy Wright, Secretary of State at the DCMS said: “I want the gambling industry to step up on social responsibility and keep their players safe, including through making more funding available for research, education and treatment to tackle problem gambling.

“I have met the major players in the sector recently and my department is in discussions with them on a strong package to increase their financial contribution, as well as make meaningful commitments on other measures to help ensure people gamble safely.

“Protecting people and their families from the risks of gambling-related harm is a priority for this government and I am encouraged that the sector now recognises that they need to do more.”

It has previously been reported that levy contributions during 2018 had only totalled £10m, which was a significantly lower annual contribution required by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) to support additional staff, research and treatment.

The letter is also reported to include a commitment from the operators  to boost the number of responsible gambling messages throughout their advertising campaigns, with the intent on reviewing the overall “tone and content” of its advertisements.

As detailed by the BBC, an extract of the letter to Jeremy Wright explains that the contributing operators – who are representing half of the industry – “are committing to collaborate to address gambling-related harm with the priority of protecting the young and vulnerable.”