Gambling companies forced to pay around 100 million a year to the NHS | Gambling


The levy will be used to fund addiction research, prevention and treatment as part of the government’s reform plan

Gambling companies will be forced to pay around $100m a year to the NHS to fund research, prevention and treatment of addiction, as part of government changes to replace the contributions system long-standing volunteering.

Under a mandatory levy, welcomed by clinicians and campaigners, online bookmakers and casinos will pay 1% of the money they win from punters.

Traditional betting shops and land-based casinos, which have higher fixed costs such as rent, will pay tax at a rate of 0.4% of turnover.

The government said that based on industry income of around 10 billion in 2022, taxes will increase by 100 million, paid directly into NHS services.

The change is part of wider plans to reform UK gambling laws announced earlier this year.

This money will help support specialized addiction clinics nationwide. Seven new NHS centers will open by the end of this year, taking the total to 15, up from just one in 2019.

The exact design of the tax will now have to go through an eight-week consultation process. But mandatory payments will replace the voluntary system that has been in place since Tony Blair’s Labor government liberalized gambling laws in 2007.

The government says this means the industry will no longer have a say in how funds supporting gambling addicts are spent.

Under the current arrangement, the industry typically donates around 0.1% of its turnover, less than 10 million in some years, with some operators accused of paying insulting nominal sums or paying nothing chief.

As recently as 2019, the industry fell short of its $10 million voluntary donation target for GambleAware, which has remained the industry’s primary donation channel to date.

Amid growing calls from campaigners, clinicians and gambling regulators for a mandatory levy, major operators have agreed to increase their contributions in 2019.

That move raised $110 million, according to the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC), an industry lobby group.

However, the voluntary system has been tarnished by concerns that the industry has too much power in distributing money. The NHS has refused to accept funding through this route.

Earlier this year, the Guardian reported that the industry’s most powerful members Bet365, Flutter Entertainment, GVC Holdings and William Hill had decided to withhold 25% of funds previously earmarked for GambleAware, opting instead to distribute them to projects selected by companies. .

The government says the new compulsory levy will quell concerns about the industry’s influence and increase funding to help those struggling with gambling addiction.

The regulator, the Gambling Commission, will distribute levy funding directly to the NHS and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), which coordinates the funding. The tax will be reinforced by law, meaning companies will have to pay it.

Gambling minister Stuart Andrew said gambling companies must always pay their fair share and this new statutory levy will ensure they are legally required to do so.

Will Prochaska, director of strategy at Gambling With Lives, a charity that supports families bereaved by gambling-related suicide, said the tax was a significant step forward.

It is important that taxes be prioritized, he added. Many charities that refuse to accept money under the current industry-funded structure may not survive if the levy is delayed.

The BGC said it believed the tax should also have been applied to the national lottery, as well as its own members, who are dominated by bookmakers and casino companies.

This mandatory levy is one of a series of proposals set out in the government’s white paper on amending gambling regulations, published in April 2023. Other measures, such as lowering money limits Betting on online slot machines and checking the payout to prevent big losses, is still being done. for consultation and no decision is expected until next year.

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