UK’s Gambling Harm Levy Proposal
The UK government has proposed the establishment of a statutory industry levy. This levy, set to be implemented as part of the Gambling Act white paper, is intended to contribute towards funding research, prevention, and treatment (RPT) initiatives related to gambling harms. In this article, we will delve into the details of this proposed levy, exploring its implications and the perspectives of key stakeholders.
The Proposed Levy Structure
The core of the proposed statutory industry levy revolves around imposing a fee on the gross gambling yield of online gambling operators. Specifically, these operators would be required to pay a 1% fee, while traditional betting shops and casinos would face a lower fee of approximately 0.4%. The anticipated outcome is an annual fund of around £100 million, dedicated to addressing the multifaceted issues associated with gambling harms.
Zoe Osmond, the chief executive of GambleAware, has expressed her approval of the introduction of the statutory industry levy. She believes that this levy represents a crucial step towards creating a sustainable source of funding for research, prevention, and treatment efforts. Osmond emphasizes that, after years of uncertainty, the levy provides clarity on funding for the gambling harms sector. This, she contends, will support long-term planning and help prevent the duplication of work within the sector.
Concerns and Call for Additional Measures
While endorsing the introduction of the levy, Osmond also raises some concerns. One notable aspect is the absence of a national strategy to combat gambling harm in the proposal. Osmond advocates for the development of such a strategy to ensure a comprehensive and cohesive approach to addressing the issue. Additionally, she suggests the appointment of a single commissioner specifically tasked with overseeing the prevention and treatment of gambling addiction.
GambleAware is also calling for a revision of the proposed funding allocations, asserting that they currently fall short of adequately reflecting the potential population-level benefits of early intervention. This highlights the organization’s commitment to optimizing the impact of the funds generated through the levy.
The Gambling Act Review White Paper
The proposed statutory industry levy is just one element of the broader Gambling Act review white paper, published in April 2023. This comprehensive document outlines the UK’s intentions to reshape the regulation of gambling. It covers various aspects, including affordability checks, sports betting, machine numbers, and more.
The review process involves consultations on different topics, with the first round focusing on financial risk and vulnerability and concluding in October. Over 3,000 submissions were received during this phase. The subsequent rounds of consultations address seven topics, including the option to opt in for online bonuses. Tim Miller, executive director of policy at the Gambling Commission, indicates that this round is expected to close in February or March.
The Betting & Gaming Council's Position
The Betting & Gaming Council (BGC), a key industry body, has broadly expressed support for the white paper and, by extension, the proposed levy. However, the BGC advocates for the levy’s extension to cover all operators, including the National Lottery. This stance aligns with the BGC’s vision for a comprehensive and inclusive approach to addressing gambling harms across the entire spectrum of gambling activities.
As the consultation period for the statutory industry levy comes to a close, the gambling industry awaits the final decisions and potential adjustments based on the feedback received. The proposed levy, with its nuanced structure and allocation, has sparked discussions on the broader landscape of gambling regulation and the responsibilities of operators in mitigating the impact of gambling harms.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is the proposed statutory industry levy for gambling harms?
The levy is a fee imposed on the gross gambling yield of online gambling operators, with the aim of funding research, prevention, and treatment initiatives related to gambling harms.
How much is the proposed levy for online gambling operators?
Online gambling operators would be required to pay a 1% fee on their gross gambling yield, while traditional betting shops and casinos would face a lower fee of around 0.4%.
What is the expected annual fund generated by the levy?
The government anticipates that the levy would raise approximately £100 million per year.
Why does GambleAware support the introduction of the statutory industry levy?
GambleAware sees the levy as a crucial step in providing clarity of funding for the gambling harms sector, supporting long-term planning, and preventing duplication of work.
What concerns does GambleAware have regarding the proposed levy?
GambleAware is calling for the development of a national strategy to combat gambling harm and suggests the appointment of a single commissioner for the prevention and treatment of gambling addiction.
How does the proposed funding allocation need to be revised, according to GambleAware?
GambleAware asserts that the proposed funding allocations do not adequately reflect the potential population-level benefits of early intervention and calls for a revision.
What is the Gambling Act review white paper?
The Gambling Act review white paper, published in April 2023, outlines the UK’s plans to change the regulation of gambling, covering various aspects such as affordability checks, sports betting, and machine numbers.
How many rounds of consultations are there in the Gambling Act review process?
The review process involves multiple rounds of consultations, with the first round focusing on financial risk and vulnerability and subsequent rounds covering different topics.
When is the expected closure date for the current round of consultations?
According to Tim Miller, executive director of policy at the Gambling Commission, the current round of consultations is set to close in February or March.
What is the Betting & Gaming Council’s stance on the proposed levy?
The Betting & Gaming Council broadly supports the white paper and the proposed levy but advocates for its extension to cover all operators, including the National Lottery.