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British Government Considers New Levy on Online Gambling Operators to Fund Research and Treatment of Addiction

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The British government is considering the implementation of a new levy on online gambling companies in an effort to raise funds for research, prevention, and treatment of gambling addiction. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) announced on Tuesday that the proposed levy could be up to 1% of the companies’ gross gambling yield, potentially generating £100 million annually.

Currently, there is a voluntary levy in place, but the DCMS revealed that some operators contribute as little as £1 towards research, prevention, and treatment. In an attempt to rectify this, the government intends to set a new 1% fee on the gross gambling yield for online gambling operators, while traditional betting shops and casinos may be subject to a proposed fee of around 0.4%.

The decision to impose a new levy comes as part of the government’s plans to address problem gambling and update regulations to keep pace with the rise of online betting through smartphone apps and other platforms. The government had previously outlined plans for new online stake limits ranging from £2 to £15. As a next step, the government is launching a consultation on the design of the proposed gambling operator levy.

The funds generated from this levy would be directed towards the National Health Service (NHS) in England, Scotland, and Wales, providing additional investment for the state-run healthcare system. In the 2021/2022 fiscal year, the industry contributed £34.7 million to the charity GambleAware through the voluntary levy, with some additional contributions going to other organizations.

The United Kingdom is home to some of the world’s largest betting companies, such as Entain, the owner of Ladbrokes and Coral brands, and Flutter, which operates FanDuel and Paddy Power, among others. Stuart Andrew, the government’s gambling minister, emphasized the importance of gambling firms paying their fair share, stating that the new statutory levy would ensure their legal obligation to do so.

The proposed levy on online gambling companies aims to address the issue of insufficient contributions towards research, prevention, and treatment of gambling addiction. By implementing this levy, the government hopes to generate significant funds that can be invested in the NHS to support individuals struggling with gambling-related issues. The government’s consultation on the design of the levy marks a crucial step towards creating a fairer and more sustainable gambling industry in the United Kingdom.

More detail via Reuters here… ( a )

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