The British Government found itself between the UK regulator call to increase fundings for gamblers with addiction, the Labour Party, and the gambling industry representatives offering a more productive solution to help the vulnerable players.
British Government Under Pressure to Raise Funds for Problem Gambling
The minister of sports and the British Government took a firm stand when they refused to make the current levy on betting firms a mandatory one. The aim of that change was to increase the funds for the treatment of problem gamblers. However, in the recent meeting, the president of the Gambling Commission, Bill Moyes, stated that the currently imposed levy was insufficient. According to him, the funds for research, education, and treatment of problem gamblers should increase significantly.
Gambling all over the world should be a fun pastime where players are comfortable with losing a certain amount of money. However, for some people, gambling has become a means of generating income. Despite the general opinion that a person makes a voluntary choice, these players are unable to walk away from casino games. Players addicted to gambling will deplete their bank accounts or credit cards just to keep the “game rolling.”
Such a behavior, where the gambler is unable to stop, is considered a mental disorder. People with such health issues, also known as compulsive gambling, are on the verge of ruining not only their own lives but influencing those of their loved ones as well. The UK’s leading gambling charity, GambleAware, which funds the UK’s only dedicated clinic for problem gamblers in London, calls upon the industry to increase its funding for addiction treatment.
More awareness about problem gamblers is spreading through the media, inviting people to gather funds for helping the ones who need it. The British Government is under pressure after refusing to introduce a statutory levy for the gambling industry. The minister of sports, Mims Davies, declared that the regulatory established so far “works.” However, many of the public entities are concerned that the Government is not making progress with the fundraising, especially considering that some casinos are ignoring the currently-present voluntary levy.
Both the minister of sports, Mims Davis, and The Gambling Commission chairman, Bill Moyes, gave a speech at the launch of the Gambling Commission’s three-year strategy to reduce the harm of gambling. And while the minister of sports is defending the current policy, the Gambling Commission chairman is opposing him.
Overall, the majority of casino owners and gambling institutions are ignoring the Government’s levy. Furthermore, some casinos still offer a VIP status for their best-spending customers and allow players to place bets of more than €437,000 ($489,700) in a single session.
As the number of gamblers with addiction increases, so does the sum needed to combat that. The president of the Gambling Commission, Bill Moyes, stated that the funds for research, education, and treatment of problem gamblers would increase from €13 million to €80 million ($14.57 million to $89.71 million) a year if a mandatory levy were imposed.
Furthermore, the Labour Party deputy, Tom Watson, claims that the Government is “dragging its heels” in solving the issue of the damage caused by gambling. The Labour Party suggested their version of the regulation for fundraising. Their idea before the Parliament suggests introducing a mandatory levy for casino owners and gambling firms.
One of the significant gambling firms, GVC, with the company’s chief executive Kenny Alexander at its head, has its own opinion on the matter. The GVC’s proposals to protect problem gamblers are advertising-related. From their experience in the industry, GVC considers that all TV ads and football players’ shirts should remove gambling ads during sports games. Moreover, GVC’s chief executive, Kenny Alexander, called on their rivals to follow suit, as he announced a number of measures he said would “do more to protect the vulnerable.”
GVC even voluntary gave up the T-shirt sponsorship of two British football clubs, Sunderland and Charlton. In addition, the company has promised to set aside 1% of their gambling revenue to help fund gambling addiction treatment, which is a sum ten times larger than the voluntary levy of 0.1%.
Kenny Alexander, GVC’s chief executive, also claims: “While the vast majority of our customers enjoy our products responsibly, it is high time that the industry did more to protect its customers from potential harm. As the UK’s largest gambling company and owner of Ladbrokes and Coral, we at GVC are doing exactly that.”
As the minister of sports explained, their joined forces should increase the funding of programs which aim to solve the damage created by gambling. After all, mental health issues which problem gamblers have cannot wait. The Gambling Commission has taken upon itself to increase the number of fines for the companies neglecting their responsibilities.