UK Gambling Charities Welcome Statutory Levy But Highlight Concerns

January 9, 2024
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The head of UK charity GambleAware has highlighted proposals that could potentially negatively impact service provision and treatment access in the recently closed statutory levy consultation.
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The head of UK charity GambleAware has highlighted proposals that could potentially negatively impact service provision and treatment access in the recently closed statutory levy consultation.

Zoë Osmond, GambleAware CEO, welcomed the introduction of a statutory industry levy that will “provide clarity of funding for the gambling harms sector” in a press release on January 4 following the closure of the consultation on December 14.

Osmond reiterated that the charity has “long called for” a statutory levy and heralded the incoming change as “an important step-change in efforts to tackle gambling harms”.

“We hope this means we can finally move on from the unhelpful distraction of debates about independence and funding, to now focus on working collaboratively to ensure the best system is in place to protect people from harm,” Osmond said.

However, the head of the charity went on to highlight several areas proposed in the consultation that “could impact service provision and access for those in need”.

This includes the currently proposed funding allocations not reflecting the benefits of shifting spending to focus more on prevention and early intervention, according to Osmond, who says there should at least be equal focus on both prevention and treatment.  

GambleAware also calls for the creation of a national strategy for the prevention and treatment of gambling harms “to underpin the new system”.

“A smooth and stable transition to the new system is vital. Leaning on the established expertise of the third sector will be critical, and clarity on funding for both GambleAware and the wider sector is urgently needed to prevent any disruption to the existing support and treatment services, which help hundreds of people every day,” Osmond said.

Previously, on December 15, charity GamCare, which provides support for people affected by gambling harm, released its consultation response, which also welcomed the “generational shift” and highlighted some areas of concern. 

GamCare similarly recommends that “the government implements a National Strategy that unites the three new commissioners with the shared ambition to set a clear direction to reduce gambling harms in the long term”.

The charity also calls for the expertise of people with lived experience of gambling-related harm to be “central to decision-making for the levy”.

GamCare’s main concern is the transition period between now and the implementation of the statutory levy.

“We want to ensure that services are available and working so that people who need support, get it at the right time and without disruption,” GamCare said.

Under the proposals in the consultation published by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) on October 17, the levy would come into effect for the 2026/2027 fiscal year and be applied on licensees reporting a gross gambling yield or profit of more than £500,000.

The government wrote in the consultation that it expected the new levy to raise approximately £90m to £100m per year by 2027.

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