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The UK government has opened a consultation for stakeholders to provide responses on the statutory levy for research, education and treatment of gambling addiction as required by the gambling review’s white paper.

Released earlier this year, the white paper stated that a statutory levy would be created to provide independent and sustainable funding to improve and expand services across the full treatment pathway.

The UK Government has now opened an eight-week consultation period to see the opinion of gambling stakeholders on how the levy should be conducted, including views from the industry, clinicians, practitioners, academics, those who have experienced gambling harm and the general public.

To be underpinned by legislation, the white paper proposes a new one per cent fee on gross gambling yield for online operators, while traditional betting shops and casinos will pay a proposed fee of around 0.4 per cent.

The new levy is estimated to raise £100m for gambling research, prevention and treatment across England, Scotland and Wales, developing “a truly national approach to prevention and fund independent, high-quality research to inform policy and practice”. 

The UK Gambling Commission will distribute funding to the NHS, which will take the principal role of ‘main commissioner of treatment’ with the support of UK Research and Innovation, coordinating research and innovation funding under the strategic direction of the government.

“The introduction of this levy will strengthen the safety net and help deliver our long-term plan to help build stronger communities while allowing millions of people to continue to gamble safely.”

Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer

The government believes the proposed levy rates offer a “fair and proportionate approach”, taking into account “operating costs and the levels of harmful gambling associated with different gambling activities”.

“We are taking the next step in our plan to protect those most at risk of gambling harm with a new levy on gambling operators to pay for treatment and research,” commented Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer.

“All gambling operators will be required to pay their fair share and this consultation is an opportunity for the industry, clinicians, those who have experienced gambling harm and the wider public to have their say on how the proposed gambling operator levy should work. 

“The introduction of this levy will strengthen the safety net and help deliver our long-term plan to help build stronger communities while allowing millions of people to continue to gamble safely.”

The levy will support services such as the National Gambling Helpline, counselling services for gambling-related harm from the third sector, specialist services for gambling addiction in the NHS and residential treatment for those experiencing severe gambling disorder.

Outside of treatment, services such as gambling-related debt advice and support for affected others of gambling harm will also receive funding.

The government noted that the levy provides “an opportunity to integrate services across the full support and pathway for gambling-related harm making sure that people across the country can access the right help they need where and when they need it”.

Gambling Minister, Stuart Andrew, added: “We know that gambling addiction can devastate lives, which is why we are working quickly to implement our bold plans for reform. 


Gambling Minister Stuart Andrew

“This consultation brings us a step closer to being able to provide £100m of new funding for research, prevention and treatment, including ring-fenced investment for the NHS to help gambling addicts.

“Gambling firms should always pay their fair share and this new statutory levy will ensure that they are legally required to do just that.”

Health Minister, Neil O’Brien, noted: “Harmful gambling can affect people’s savings, ruin relationships, and devastate people’s lives and health.

“Gambling companies should pay their fair share towards the costs of treatment services, but we want to hear from as many people as possible about how the new statutory levy should work.

“We continue working to support those affected by gambling harms. Twelve of the planned fifteen NHS gambling addictions clinics have now opened across the country providing vital support services for thousands of people experiencing gambling-related harms as well as their loved ones. The remaining three are expected to open by the end of the year.”

The levy has received a mixed response from stakeholders. Some have welcomed it, while others have said it doesn’t go far enough to cover all forms of gambling and that the distribution of funds needs to be managed correctly.

The structure of the RET levy is recognised as the most complex issue of the gambling review’s white paper, in which the government must settle long-standing disputes on funding, independence from gambling, and the management of third-sector organisations providing existing support services.  

“I welcome this Levy which reflects the government’s decision to fund gambling treatment, prevention, research and education in an independent and evidence-based way allowing us to continue our work of eradicating all gambling harms from society,” noted Henrietta Bowden-Jones, National Clinical Advisor for Gambling Harms.

Prominent charities involved in gambling harm treatment across the UK, such as GambleAware and GamCare, have yet to comment on the proposal. However, their opinions will likely be made clear to DCMS and the UKGC during the course of the upcoming consultation.

NHS Mental Health Director, Claire Murdoch, commented: “Gambling addiction destroys people’s lives and with record numbers turning to the NHS for support, the health service has met this demand head-on by opening four new specialist clinics in recent months, with a further three opening later this year.

“The NHS has long called for a statutory levy because it is only right that this billion-pound industry steps up to support people suffering from gambling addiction and I am pleased that action is being taken to prevent people from coming to harm in the first place.

“The BGC supports a new mandatory levy – indeed we proposed this to the government ahead of the white paper.”

Betting and Gaming Council spokesperson

“It is now vital we continue working in partnership to ensure we provide effective prevention, education and treatment for this condition.”

A spokesperson from the Betting and Gaming Council stated that the levy should also be applied to the UK National Lottery as well, whilst reiterating the significance of the voluntary donations already made by the industry to the UK’s independent charity support network.

“BGC members pledged £100m over four years to fund Research, Education and Treatment services to help prevent gambling-related harm and tackle problem gambling, which is paid through a unique voluntary levy scheme. They have gone further and will have donated £110m by March 2024, helping to protect the vital work of third-sector RET providers.

“This current voluntary levy funds an independent network of charities which treats around 85 per cent of all problem gamblers receiving treatment in Great Britain. RET donations only go to charities accredited by the Gambling Commission and BGC members have no say on how the funding is spent.

“The BGC supports a new mandatory levy – indeed we proposed this to the government ahead of the white paper. Our industry has been the majority funder of RET for over 20 years. However, we believe it should apply to all operators including the National Lottery, without affecting good causes, who are not immune to having problem gamblers gamble with their products like scratch cards and instant win games.

“It must also be applied on a sliding scale, with smaller percentage contributions from land-based operators, including independent betting shops on our high streets that have struggled to recover after the pandemic and incur disproportionately higher fixed costs.

“There must also be adequate oversight to ensure levy funds are only distributed to charities and organisations delivering genuine RET services to ensure long-term, sustainable funding – including protecting existing third sector providers who are already doing vital work and who may now be at risk.”

The UK government and the UKGC have stated they expect to have key elements of the white paper in place by next summer.