Advice to the Gambling Commission on a statutory levy
Section 6: Transitional arrangements
It is acknowledged that there are weaknesses in the current system of distributing funding for research, treatment and prevention118,119,120. Despite recent efforts by the Gambling Commission and others to strengthen the voluntary system, there continues to be a lack of independence, transparency, equity, and sustainability of funds.
The House of Lords Report highlighted the government’s powers under Section 123 of the Gambling Act to create a mandatory levy121. There are a number of transitional arrangements that could be put in place to address some of the current challenges with funding for existing services. For example;
All existing funds for research from voluntary contributions could be re-distributed to the UK’s mainstream funding Councils such as ESRC, NIHR and RCUK with a much faster time frame for commissioning research, as well as other third sector organisations. This would include the funding ring fenced for the independent data repository. GambleAware could phase out all funding of research, without disadvantaging existing researchers or projects currently in receipt of funds, and transfer all remaining funds to the new Levy Board. Existing funded projects would be maintained for the duration of their contracts.
The Commission could establish a time limited ‘shadow’ Board as a precursor to the Safer Gambling Levy Board to distribute funding and administer regulatory settlements. Board appointments would include those with experience of distributing public funds and reflect the principles of transparency and accountability122. At least one member of the Board would be an expert by experience123. Operators would no longer pay regulatory settlements directly to researchers, but the monies would be submitted to the Levy Board for decisions about distribution. This would, in effect, create involuntary research funding or structural de-coupling of the type established elsewhere124.
118 Clear principles are needed for integrity in gambling research (opens in new tab), Livingstone & Adams, Addiction, 2015
119 Public Health England’s capture by the alcohol industry (opens in new tab), Bauld, BMJ, 2018
121 This would be achieved by implementing Section 123 of the Gambling Act 2005 (opens in new tab)
122 Seven principles of public life (opens in new tab), UK Government
123 The Levy Board should also link in to structures being developed in Scotland, Wales and England to involve a wider network of experts by experience in the implementation of the National Strategy for Reducing Gambling Harms.
124 Evidence Exchange Brief - Systems of funding for gambling research (opens in new tab), GREO, January 2020
Advice to the Gambling Commission on a statutory levy: Challenges to implementation Next section
Advice to the Gambling Commission on a statutory levy: Conclusions
Last updated: 17 August 2021
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