UK Government Weighs Imposing 1% Levy on Online Gambling Firms to Fund Addiction Research
The British government is contemplating the introduction of a new levy on online gambling companies, potentially reaching up to 1%.
This move is anticipated to generate £100 million annually to support research, prevention, and treatment of gambling addiction. While a voluntary levy currently exists, the government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) reveals that some operators are contributing as little as £1 toward these essential services.
Levying for Responsibility
The government is exploring the imposition of a new 1% fee on the gross gambling yield for online gambling operators. In contrast, traditional betting shops and casinos may face a proposed fee of approximately 0.4%. This move is part of the government’s broader effort to address the rise in problem gambling facilitated by online betting, particularly through mobile apps and other digital platforms.
In April, the government outlined plans to tackle problem gambling and modernize regulations to adapt to the surge in smartphone betting and online gambling accessibility. The proposed changes include establishing new online stake limits ranging from £2 to £15. A consultation on the structure of the gambling operator levy has now been launched, marking a crucial step towards holding the industry accountable.
Funding Health Services
The funds generated through this new levy would be channeled into the state-run National Health Service (NHS) in England, Scotland, and Wales. Additionally, the government notes that the charity GambleAware received £34.7 million from the industry via the voluntary levy in the 2021/22 period, with contributions also directed to other organizations.
The United Kingdom is home to some of the world’s largest betting companies, including Entain, owner of Ladbrokes and Coral brands, and Flutter, which operates platforms like FanDuel and Paddy Power. The government’s gambling minister, Stuart Andrew, emphasizes the importance of gambling firms contributing their fair share, and this new statutory levy aims to ensure that they do just that.
This development reflects the government’s commitment to addressing the issue of problem gambling and providing necessary support for those affected by it.