The Betting and Gaming Council’s five largest members have confirmed that they will spend £100m improving treatment services for problem gamblers.
bet365, GVC, PaddyPower Betfair, Sky Betting and Gaming (which are both now part of Flutter Entertainment) and William Hill, announced that they will provide funds to GambleAware charity who will be the main commissioning agent for ensuring funds reach people who require counselling and treatment.
The five operators have already pledged to increase the amount they spend on research, education and treatment (RET) services from 0.1 per cent to 0.25 per cent of their annual revenue in 2020, 0.5 per cent in 2021, 0.75 per cent in 2022 and 1 per cent in 2023.
Peter Jackson, CEO of Flutter Entertainment, said: “GambleAware has a long track record in commissioning treatment services and working with providers for the benefit of problem gamblers.
“Through the provision of this unprecedented level of financial support, we aim to achieve a step-change in the treatment and counselling available to those experiencing gambling-related harm.
“As an industry, we are taking significant strides to build in further protections for customers. From increasing safer gambling messages in response to Covid-19, to a £10 million nationwide education initiative targeting all 11-19 years olds across the country, we are creating a safer environment for our customers while devoting resources to protecting the vulnerable and under-age.”
The BGC has also confirmed that £2.5 million will be made available to the YGAM/GamCare gambling education project in this financial year.
In addition, the large betting and gaming operators will continue to provide 0.1% of their annual revenue to GambleAware’s funding of RET, while BGC members will give an additional £3.8 million of funding to the BetRegret 2020 advertising campaign to encourage safer gambling.
Welcoming the latest funding announcement, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “I’ve seen first hand how problem gambling can damage people’s mental health and affect the lives of those around them – and I’ve been determined to help protect vulnerable people from the impacts.
“So I’m delighted the Betting and Gaming Council is taking these steps to support treatment and provision for problem gamblers.
“The Government will continue to tackle the consequences of problem gambling by rolling out specialist services on the NHS, which will offer expert care and treatment for those who need it.”
Minister for Sport Nigel Huddleston said: “We have been clear that the gambling industry has a responsibility to protect people from gambling-related harm and support those who have been affected.
“I welcome the Betting and Gaming Council now outlining how it will deliver on leading operators’ pledges to bolster research, education and treatment. We will monitor closely the progress of these new measures and continue to encourage the wider industry to step up.”
Brigid Simmonds, chairman of the BGC, said: “It is a credit to our large members that they remain committed to increased funding for RET and to the promises made to the Secretary of State for £100 million to go to funding treatment over the next four years.
“Ensuring that GambleAware are the main beneficiaries of this announcement recognises their independence, their links with the Department of Health and Social Care and health professionals and their acknowledged expertise as a commissioning body.”
BGC chief executive Michael Dugher added: “As the new body representing the regulated betting and gaming industry, we are committed to driving up standards.
“This latest funding commitment is yet more evidence of the industry’s determination to improve the quality and provision of treatment for problem gamblers – and of our members’ eagerness to get on with it as quickly as possible.”