GambleAware, an independent UK charity involved in the prevention and treatment of gambling-related harm, received record donations from the gambling industry for the period 2021-2022.
Operators across the country contributed £34.7 million ($42.9 million) in the year to March 31, 2022 to fund and support the charity’s programs and causes. That figure is almost double the £19 million donated by the sector during the period 2020-2021, and more than triple the amount received by GambleAware in 2019-2020 which stood at £10.05 million.
GambleAware has sided with government in its attempts to rein in the iGaming industry. They have supported very tough regulatory and advertising guidelines which has seen the dramatic drop in the offering of UK no deposit free spins bonuses, the implementation of a global exclude list and very tough KYC and deposit requirements.
UK’s Gambling Giants Are Biggest Donors
According to GambleAware’s recently-published report, a large chunk of the donations came from the UK’s so-called “Big Four”. William Hill, Flutter Entertainment, Entain, and bet365 all made good on their promise to donate 1% of their gross gaming yield (GGY) to the charity by 2024. The four companies accounted for 89% of the donations, with the rest coming from more than 680 gambling operators in the country.
However, despite the massive increase in donations from the industry, GambleAware has reiterated its call for a mandatory levy on gambling firms, citing what it described as the continuing “inconsistency” in the current funding system.
While GambleAware welcomes the commitment from the UK’s Big Four to up their donations, the charity believes that the funding model currently in place isn’t sustainable and will not provide long-term funds that must be invested in crucial prevention and treatment services.
GambleAware Continues to Push for Mandatory Levy
Zoe Osmond, the Chief Executive of GambleAware, said there’s a need for the government to impose a statutory levy of 1% of GGY on operators as a licensing condition. This is to achieve a consistent approach to funding across the wider gambling sector, Osmond stressed.
The record donations received by GambleAware do not indicate funding stability, especially as many operators still aren’t committed enough to contribute a reasonable portion of their revenue towards organizations tackling industry-related problems.
What’s even worse is that some firms who were slapped with penalties by the Gambling Commission over social responsibility failings have made limited donations to GambleAware in the past year, one of them being Genesis Global which did not contribute any amount to GambleAware for the 2021-2022 period. The firm only donated £6,000 during 2020-2021.
The mandatory funding system will make sure that operators contribute their fair share of donations while at the same time providing a stable source of funds that will enable the organization to continue to do its job.
There’s no doubt that the gambling industry is flourishing in the UK but its success is accompanied by major issues that need to be urgently addressed, including gambling-related harm. The operators should take the responsible steps to minimize the risks, especially with the country’s present economic status, Osmond said.
More Funds, Better Service
The group representing the gambling sector, the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC), is opposing drastic reforms to the gambling law, including the imposition of a statutory levy. The BGC has warned the government that tough measures and restrictions could lead people to the black market. The group also highlighted the pledge from the country’s biggest operators to contribute £100 million in additional funding to GambleAware through to 2023.
But that isn’t enough, according to the campaigners.
The mandatory levy will play a vital role in the government’s ongoing efforts to combat gambling-related harm. With more funds going to charities like GambleAware, the problems can be dealt with more effectively through investment in targeted research, the addition of more treatment services, and the implementation of more preventative measures.
GambleAware will also be able to devise a better structure to help people at risk of gambling-related harm. Osmond said a consistent flow of donations would enable them to deliver its services much quicker.