Five of Britain’s leading gambling companies – Bet365, Flutter (Paddy Power and Betfair), GVC (Ladbrokes and Coral), Sky Betting and Gaming and William Hill – agreed a package of measures to fund an expansion of treatment for problem gamblers and initiatives to create a safer gambling environment.
The move follows discussions on the matter with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) that helped to broker the commitments.
William Hill Chief Executive Philip Bowcock said: “There is an unprecedented level of agreement among leading companies that now is the time for the industry to step up to the plate and ensure we play our full part in addressing the issues surrounding gambling related harm.
Today we are announcing that we will commit significant levels of additional funds which will lead to an expansion in treatment and safer gambling initiatives.
Our hope is that this begins a new era of cooperation within the industry and between the industry and experts, charities, Government and the regulator to promote safer gambling and minimise the risks”.
Peter Jackson, CEO of Flutter, representing all five companies, said: “This is an unprecedented level of commitment and collaboration by the leading companies in the British betting and gaming sector to address gambling-related harm and promote safer gambling.
The whistle-to-whistle advertising ban was a good start, now we are funding a significant expansion in treatment and we continue to work on a number of areas of collaboration and best practice. Our aim is nothing less than a step change in how we tackle gambling-related harm”.
The companies are to increase financial support for safer gambling ten-fold, raising the current 0.1% voluntary contribution of their Gross Gambling Yield (GGY) from the UK over the next four years to 1% in 2023.
This tenfold increase will reach a contribution of approximately £60 million from the five companies in 2023 and be maintained at that level in future years.
Within this commitment, the five companies will contribute 0.1% of their GGY annually to BeGambleAware to support its existing treatment commitments and to continue its independent research programme.
At the centre of their commitment is health. The five companies have committed to spending a cumulative £100 million on treatment over the next four years. They will work with the DCMS and the Department for Health and Social Care and providers of existing services, including the NHS, about the most appropriate framework to determine how additional funds are appropriately deployed to support increased provision of counselling and other support services for problem gamblers.
This will include established charities and those with lived experience. The key priority will be to quadruple the numbers of those accessing treatment from 2.5% to 10%.
The five companies have also agreed to increase safer gambling messages in their advertising, support dedicated campaigns, and review the tone and content of all their marketing, advertising and sponsorship.
The companies will support advertising technology, where it exists, to divert messages from problem gamblers.
The companies will report publicly on progress on all these commitments in their annual assurance statements to the Gambling Commission, including confirmation of the payment of the 1% voluntary contribution.
The companies already identify customers whose gambling suggests they may be at risk of harm, and take steps to protect them. Building on the successful launch of GAMSTOP, the multi-operator self-exclusion scheme, and the land-based equivalent, they will further share data to protect problem gamblers from experiencing further harm.
Lord Chadlington, the Conservative peer who has been a leading advocate for safer gambling measures, commented, “This initiative should ensure that the necessary reforms to protect the young and vulnerable particularly with the growth of online gambling will be rooted in independent research – on everything from online gambling harms to associated suicide.
That evidence base should also be used for education and for treatment.
“We must be certain” continued Lord Chadlington, “that through the consultation process, a means is secured for the funds to be administered and the programmes evaluated, independent of the contributing companies and the gambling industry as a whole”.
Source of the article: William Hill Plc.