ECA warning dampens expectations for casino funding pledge

ECA warning dampens expectations for casino funding pledge

Friday, December 1, 2017 Posted by Craig Davies
Commitment to GambleAware revealed by the NCF

The National Casino Forum (NCF) has announced a UK funding commitment to GambleAware, at the same time as the European Casino Association (ECA) has revealed enforcement is lacking against unlicensed gambling providers in Europe.  

The ECA has stated that jurisdictions are still being targeted without the mandatory license being obtained, and despite tools being available to act “many countries seem to lack the political will to tackle this issue".  

A recent survey has estimated that up to 50% of total gambling revenue is generated in countries where the operator does not hold the required license.

As a result of this a number of substantial issues have arisen, including taxes in the target country not being paid and an unfair competition being offered to licensed and regulated national gambling operators.

In its statement, the ECA said: “While effective measures are in principle available, they are often not used and best practices in their implementation are not shared between EU countries.

“The survey demonstrated that the most effective enforcement measures against unlicensed gambling providers are advertising blocking, IP blocking and blacklisting of unlicensed operators.

“For the licensed industry it is clear that EU countries need to wake up to the growing issue of unlicensed online gambling providers across Europe. The status quo of unlicensed providers targeting EU countries being tolerated should be considered unacceptable.

“The ECA therefore calls on national policy-makers and regulators to put in place strong and effective enforcement measures.”

UK land based casinos have also agreed to donate 0.1% of their gross gaming yield to independent charity GambleAware, with early predictions estimating a contribution of £900,000 will be made as a result.

Casino operators are keen to highlight their commitment to the promotion of safe gambling, through the introduction of this "new, transparent mechanism."

Tracy Damestani, chief executive of the NCF said: “This is an historic commitment by casino operators. They are guaranteeing that the casino sector will donate 0.1% of Gross Gambling Yield to GambleAware, in addition to making other charitable donations. They are underpinning this pledge by introducing a transparent new payment system.

“The casino sector has always supported fundraising for research, education and treatment, and casino operators are determined to go beyond both the letter and the spirit of the Act in their support for responsible and safer gambling. They want to ensure that research, education, prevention and treatment programmes are fully funded across the gambling industry.”

GambleAware, who help fund education, harm prevention and treatment services, was given the responsibility of raising funds to deliver the National Responsible Gambling Strategy, following an agreement between the industry, regulator and ministers in 2012.

Funding is secured across all sectors of the gambling industry, with an annual target of £10m for 2016/17 set by the Responsible Gambling Strategy Board, who advise the Gambling Commission and the UK government.

GambleAware chief executive Marc Etches added: “It is imperative that all businesses deriving a profit from commercial gambling in Britain support GambleAware in the delivery of the National Responsible Gambling Strategy. This initiative by NCF’s members will ensure transparency in relation to the casino sector’s funding of research, education and treatment, and sets an important bench-mark for others."

Totally Gaming says: Issues relating to the work carried out by GambleAware have been big news in recent times, and through this new pledge land based casinos have demonstrated a positive attitude and willingness to do their part. Securing funding could also be impacted by the statements brought forward by the ECA, with its comments and survey results rather damming, action could be brought forward rather swiftly.

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