Gambling Commission threatens problem gambling tax

Gambling Commission threatens problem gambling tax

Thursday, September 8, 2016 Posted by Andy McCarron
CEO suggests industry should be raising £10m-£11m a year

Sarah Harrison, the CEO of the UK Gambling Commission, has told the gambling industry that it ought to be funding more initiatives to tackle problem gambling.

Speaking at today’s WrB conference in London, Harrison suggested that the amount spent on advertising by the gambling industry puts to shame the contributions to the Responsible Gambling Trust and that all operators should be making contributions, suggesting 0.1% of GGY.

Harrison welcomed the new National Responsible Gambling Strategy developed by the Responsible Gambling Strategy Board (RGSB) - the Commission’s expert advisory board on responsible gambling and gambling-related harm, led by Sir Christopher Kelly.

She said: “I believe this strategy provides the framework for what we are jointly working to achieve. Devised in consultation with stakeholders, it covers all forms of gambling and sets the agenda for operators, regulators, commissioning organisations, Government, trade bodies, treatment providers and a number of other public agencies. “

Harrison said is now for the Responsible Gambling Trust, led by its first independent Chairman, Kate Lampard, to develop the research plan and secure the funding which will implement the National Strategy over the next three years.

But she said that the industry itself was in sore need of committing to the project. She told delegates: “Delivering the strategy will require expertise, resources and above all else, genuine commitment from a diverse range of stakeholders. Foremost among those will be the industry itself. The Commission has set down a clear challenge for industry to demonstrate its commitment to funding the strategy.

“Again, let’s put this in context, in 2015, under the current voluntary arrangements, the industry contributed over £6.5m to RGT for research, education and treatment under the voluntary funding arrangements. By contrast £120m was spend on TV advertising in the same year. That cannot be right. £6.5m is nowhere near enough. If the RGT were able to rely on a minimum of 0.1% of every operator’s GGY, that would provide a ballpark figure of £10-£11m - which is beginning to be a much more credible sum for such an important task.”

Harrison said that the Commission didn’t care too much how the industry shares this funding responsibility but she added that she would expect the industry itself to care very much about this: “How can it be fair that some operators, large and small, contribute year in and year out while others get a free ride?”

She added that it the industry didn’t act voluntarily then they may have to be forced: “I know that RGT would welcome a more robust arrangement, for example under which the industry agrees and codifies a common approach. GB operators now face a key opportunity - to give credible commitment to the voluntary based system for supporting research, education and treatment, or face stronger calls for mandatory action.”

Totally Gaming Says: This is the most bullish that Sarah Harrison has been since she took up the Gambling Commission CEO role and its message should resonate. The Commission’s stance is clear – take funding more seriously or we will force you to do so. 

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