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Tue, 11 August 2020

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Labour plan tax on bookmakers to fund treatment for problem gamblers

Labour plan tax on bookmakers to fund treatment for problem gamblers

John Ashmore

1 min read

A future Labour government would look at raising a levy on bookmakers to fund treatment for problem gamblers, Labour's deputy leader will say today. 


Tom Watson will vow to crack down on gambling companies he says are "deliberately targeting our poorest communities". 

His plan has the backing of the industry body, the Association of British Bookmakers, who said they would "not oppose an appropriate, compulsory levy". 

It comes after Labour proposed earlier this month to tackle the "hidden epidemic" of gambling addiction by banning betting firms from sponsoring football shirts. 

Mr Watson will tell delegates at his party's conference in Brighton that the number of problem gamblers has risen by a third in the last three years alone.

"Two million people are either problem gamblers or at risk of addiction. Children and young people are being targeted by betting advertisers more than ever.

"We now know that when vulnerable people try to opt-out of online gambling, companies don't always block their accounts, as they should."

He will also hit out at firms for failing to pay the 0.1% of gambling yield that charity GambleAware has asked the industry to contribute to fund treatment programmes.

"So my message to gambling firms today could not be clearer: stop targeting vulnerable people. Start acting responsibly," Mr Watson will say.

"And meet your obligation to help those whose lives been blighted by addiction."

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