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Advice to the Gambling Commission on a statutory levy

A paper by the Advisory Board for Safer Gambling advising the Gambling Commission on a statutory levy

  1. Contents
  2. Executive Summary

Executive Summary

This paper sets out the Advisory Board for Safer Gambling’s advice on the most effective approach to funding activities to reduce gambling harms. The advice contains three main recommendations and sets out why reform of the current approach is needed. Our three main recommendations are:

  1. Establish a statutory levy on all gambling operators
  2. Set the levy at one percent, with a review after two years
  3. Establish an independent Safer Gambling Levy Board to oversee the distribution of funds.

Change in the landscape of gambling harms requires a new approach to research, prevention and treatment services. Gambling-related harm is a serious issue – it has negative impacts on large numbers of people. The impacts are now recognised as being far more widespread than the estimated 340,000 people classified as problem gamblers. Addressing these harms requires adequate and sustainable funding. Despite efforts by the Gambling Commission and other stakeholders to improve the current voluntary system, it remains not fit for purpose. Its weaknesses include:

  • A lack of transparency
  • A lack of equity across operators
  • A record of insufficient funding
  • Voluntary funding that is unpredictable and creates barriers to distributing funds to where they can have the most impact – such as the NHS.

We recommend that a statutory levy, set at one percent of gross gambling yield (GGY) replaces the voluntary system. This would provide a sustainable basis for partnerships to deliver effective research, prevention and treatment activities and open up a wider range of distribution and partnership opportunities.

We recognise that these recommendations are not without challenges, and the impact of Covid-19 on the industry has yet to be quantified. They would, however, allow a greater pace of progress to reducing gambling harms, and would create a fairer and more efficient approach that would significantly benefit those affected by harms. Our advice includes recommendations on enabling actions to assist this transition.

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Advice to the Gambling Commission on a statutory levy: Introduction
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