GambleAware (an independent charity tasked to fund research, prevention and treatment services to help to reduce gambling harms in Great Britain) asks all those who profit from the gambling industry in Great Britain, whether or not they hold a licence from the Gambling Commission, to donate a minimum of 0.1% of their annual Gross Gambling Yield (GGY) directly to GambleAware.
This voluntary donation-based system was agreed after the Gambling Act 2005 and is underpinned by the Gambling Commission’s LCCP Social Responsibility Code Provision 3.1.1.(2). In addition, GambleAware receives a proportion of monies derived from regulatory settlements concluding Gambling Commission enforcement action against licensed gambling operators.
Calls have been increasing from a variety of sources for either (a) that voluntary donation to increase tenfold to 1% of GGY or (b) the voluntary donation to be replaced by a mandatory levy.
Against that background, GambleAware has today published details of:
- donations (totalling £9.6 million) received by it during 2018/19 and
- the additional sum of £7.3 million received from regulatory settlements.
GambleAware has today published details of donations for the 12 months ending 31 March 2019. The total for voluntary donations is £9.6 million. While this is marginally more than in the previous 12 months, it remains below the minimum of £10 million that trustees had asked of the gambling industry. In addition, GambleAware has received £7.3 million in regulatory settlements. Taken together these monies are funding the delivery of our strategic priorities.
GambleAware is at the forefront of commissioning a National Gambling Treatment Service, working with the NHS and others such as Citizens Advice to help direct people to the right intervention. However, less than three per cent of the reported number of problem gamblers access services currently so it is clear there is much more to be done in both raising awareness about this serious public health issue and commissioning more prevention and treatment services.
Meeting our existing commitments will require a minimum of £10 million in the next 12 months ending 31 March 2020. However, trustees anticipate that our response to the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms will require a significant step-up in funding from April 2020.
This elicited immediate negative criticism from the media, most notably in The Guardian’s article entitled “Gambling industry fails to meet charity donation target”, carrying the sub-heading “MPs call for compulsory levy as GambleAware reveals many firms gave £10 or less in 2018-19”.
To place such criticism into more meaningful context, it should be noted that:
- the Responsible Gambling Strategy Board had estimated that GambleAware would require a minimum of £9.5 million in voluntary donations in 2018/19 plus running costs to implement its commissioning plans,
- GambleAware has stated that, in order to continue to meet its existing commitments and complete the successful delivery of its current two-year strategic delivery plan, it will require a minimum of £10 million in the 12 months to 31 March 2020 and
- licensed gambling operators may choose to donate to other Research/Prevention/Treatment organisations or initiatives instead of, or in addition to, GambleAware, with the consequence that those contributions are not reflected on GambleAware’s website or in its financial accounts.