| William Hill, Coral
Ladbroke owners GVC Holdings, Betfair Paddy Power now known as Flutter
Entertainment plc , Skybet owned by The Stars Group and Bet365 will offer to
increase the voluntary levy on their gambling profits..
offered to up the levy from 0.1% to 1% over the next five years and claim that
the new level would eventually raise £100m per year for gambling
charities. Last year, the voluntary levy raised just £10m.
firms made the pledge in a letter to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media
and Sport (DCMS). The Gambling Commission recently said the need for more
staff, research and treatment required an annual contribution from the industry
of £70m. The firms said they would also consider increasing the amount of
safer gambling messaging and reviewing the "tone and content" of its
advertising, a significant shift from their current position.
pre-emptive offer is part of an effort by the industry to improve its image
after what was resoundingly acknowledged as a reputation-damaging battle over
Fixed Odds Betting Terminals, which eventually saw the maximum stake in any one
spin reduced from £100 to £2.
Jeremy Wright, Secretary of
State at the DCMS, said: "I want the gambling industry to step up on social
responsibility and keep their players safe, including through making more
funding available for research, education and treatment to tackle problem
"I have met the major players in the sector recently and my
department is in discussions with them on a strong package to increase their
financial contribution, as well as make meaningful commitments on other
measures to help ensure people gamble safely.
"Protecting people and
their families from the risks of gambling-related harm is a priority for this
government and I am encouraged that the sector now recognises that they need to
A spokesperson for the five firms said they would lay out a
plan by the end of the year to support a rapid expansion of
treatment for problem gamblers and ensure young and vulnerable people were
Industry on the Edge
One insider said, "The
industry is on a precipice - if we don't get ahead of this, we will end up
where the alcohol industry was 10 years ago and tobacco 30 years ago. The fear
is that we face a ban on touchline advertising or football shirt
The gambling firms have already agreed to a voluntary
"whistle to whistle" ban on advertising during sporting events from August of
In an extract of the letter to Jeremy Wright, the firms say
that as companies representing half of the gambling industry, "we are
committing to collaborate to address gambling-related harm with the priority of
protecting the young and vulnerable."
Labour deputy leader Tom Watson
has described Britain's "gambling epidemic" as a public health crisis, as it
can lead to debt, loneliness and suicide. He also called for all gambling firms
to be forced to reapply for their licence to review their commitment to
corporate responsibility. He has also recommended the establishment of a
gambling ombudsman to provide redress for customers who are treated
A recent report published in the British Medical Journal found
that the economic and social harms of problem gambling have been
The Gambling Commission estimates there are 430,000
people with a serious gambling addiction in the UK. If you include those they
deem at risk of addiction, the number rises to more than two million.
you are looking for help, advice or support in relation to your gambling,
please go to: BeGambleAware.org or contact the National Gambling Helpline on
0808 8020 133 or look at our help