The Remote Gambling Association (RGA) has today urged the UK Government to introduce a statutory levy to replace the current system of voluntary funding for research, education, and treatment of problem gambling.
It also calls on the government to ensure that the National Responsible Gambling Strategy is properly funded.
The current voluntary funding system, which is overseen by GambleAware, was originally established by the gambling industry to provide finances for a range of social responsibility projects.
However, the RGA states that it is “increasingly clear that this system is no longer fit for purpose and this concern is presumably why DCMS in its Consultation on proposals for changes to Gaming Machines and Social Responsibility Measures October 2017) posed a specific question about the future of the funding of research, education and treatment.”
This represents a departure from its previous position where it was not opposed in principle to the introduction of a statutory levy but did not actively ask for such a levy to be introduced.
Commenting on the proposal, Remote Gambling Association Chief Executive Clive Hawkswood, said:
“There has been much to commend in the voluntary funding system, but if we are to combat problem gambling to the best of our ability and to minimise gambling related harm, then now is the time for change and for a fresh start. We are all disappointed that the current system has been the subject of so much criticism and has struggled with fundraising, but we need to put that behind us.
We have acknowledged the problem and put forward a long-term solution. We believe everyone’s efforts should now be focussed on bringing this change about. For the industry this should be seen as an opportunity rather than a threat.
“More funding is needed if we are to fulfil our responsibilities to everyone in this country who gambles, and especially those who are affected by problem gambling. A statutory levy will ensure the right funds are raised in a fair and open process and, crucially, that they are allocated in a way that is transparent, independent, and achieves measurable benefits.”