How Conscious is Our Gamble?

GambleAware have been saying it for years. Indeed, it’s in their very name. If we’re going to gamble, it is vital that we gamble responsibly, within financial and mental limits which match our personal circumstances. Further, as a society, it’s vital that we provide support for the problems that can develop in gambling, and this is what GambleAware and other charities in the sector such as GamCare are working on.

It was revealed back in May that the recommended voluntary industry contribution of 0.1% towards GambleAware was not being reached by sufficient operators to allow them to even reach their most recent funding targets, and in fact that they are now operating with a £2 million (20%) shortfall on that goal. This week, the Association of British Bookmakers (ABB) added their voice to a growing call to transform that contribution into a statutory levy, a tax, the proceeds from which would be used to provide support for problem gambling and programmes towards its avoidance.

Departing CEO of the UK Gambling Commission Sarah Harrison has contributed to the discussion, warning the industry that if operators didn’t up their game with regard to voluntary contributions, the UKCG would back the proposed levy. Labour has also already pledged to put into place a similar compulsory process if and when they come to power. Shadow Sports Minister Rosena Allin-Khan raised the issue at GambleAware’s annual Harm Minimisation conference held in early December, commenting on how “unacceptable” the £8 million industry contribution looked when viewed alongside its record-breaking £13.8 billion in takings.

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