Zoe Osmond, the chief executive of GambleAware, has expressed her approval of the proposed statutory industry levy in the Gambling Act white paper. She believes that this levy will help to fund gambling harms research, which is a critical area of focus in addressing the negative impact of gambling.
The proposed levy would involve a 1% fee on the gross gambling yield for online gambling operators, while traditional betting shops and casinos would pay a lower fee of around 0.4%. The government estimates that this levy would raise an annual amount of £100 million. Operators would pay this levy to the Gambling Commission, ensuring that all licensed operators in the UK contribute their fair share.
Osmond is pleased with the introduction of the statutory levy, emphasizing the importance of funding gambling harms research, prevention, and treatment. She sees this as a significant change in efforts to tackle gambling harms, providing clarity of funding and preventing duplication of work in the sector.
Despite supporting the levy, Osmond has also raised concerns about its introduction. She has called for the development of a national strategy to combat gambling harm, the appointment of a single commissioner responsible for addressing gambling addiction, and a change to the proposed funding allocations.
The Gambling Act review white paper, published in April 2023, outlines various proposals for changing how gambling is regulated in the UK. These proposals include considerations on affordability checks, sports betting, and machine numbers. The consultation process has been ongoing, with the next round discussing topics such as opting in for online bonuses. The Betting & Gaming Council has shown its support for the proposed levy but believes that it should apply to all operators, including the National Lottery.
Overall, the introduction of the statutory industry levy is seen as a positive step in addressing gambling harms and funding crucial research, prevention, and treatment efforts. However, there are also important considerations and potential changes that need to be addressed as part of this process.