The statutory levy and the future of gambling services
Image by Jan Vašek from Pixabay
Following the gambling white paper’s proposal of a statutory levy, Margot Daly, Chair of GamCare – the leading provider of independent information, advice and support for anyone affected by gambling harms – sets out her thoughts on the importance of funding for third sector organisations.
As you read this today, GamCare will be delivering 220 free and confidential calls, online chats, and treatment sessions, offering effective support for gambling harms. That’s 80,000 people a year. Real lives, real families, and real communities impacted by a serious public health issue.
Despite strong evidence for the effectiveness of treatments, we are only scratching the surface.
Since GamCare was founded 25 years ago, the gambling landscape has changed beyond recognition. Customers can engage with gambling products across the world, at any time, on their phones; and gambling products have seen rapid developments through artificial intelligence, machine learning, and sophisticated multi-channel marketing. So, what can we do to protect vulnerable people from harm?
This year, the government published the long-awaited white paper “High stakes: Gambling reform for the digital age”, setting out measures that aim to reform gambling regulation in the UK and bring it into the modern age.
At GamCare, our priority is making sure that people who need help receive it as quickly as possible. That’s why we have welcomed the white paper’s proposal of a statutory levy. This levy will ensure the independence of funding for treatment and research programmes, and for prevention initiatives to address gambling harms.
Currently, 90% of treatment and support for gambling harms are delivered effectively by local third sector organisations. These organisations, including GamCare, have developed long-standing and trusted connections with the communities we serve. We provide prevention, education and treatment and support for those who need it.
As the government now looks to consult on the levy, we are calling for a commitment to ringfence the levy funding to ensure that people who need help can access the right care at the right time.
It is also vital that any governance mechanism will, at its core, meaningfully embed and involve people with lived experience of gambling harm. This is crucial to ensuring that early intervention and treatment services are most effective in preventing and reducing harm.
Finally, however the new levy is distributed in the future, it is vital that third sector services receive the long-term and sustainable funding they need to continue delivering their life changing work – and in preventing the next generation from experiencing gambling-related harm.
Correction: A gambling white paper has been published, proposing a statutory levy. However, the consultation is still to be launched. An earlier version of this post misstated that the consultation had been published.
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