GambleAware chief executive Zoe Osmond “welcomes” the introduction of a statutory industry levy and believes it will help fund research into gambling harms.

The new levy, which is one of a number of measures proposed in the Gambling Act White Paper, would set online gambling operators at a 1% fee on gross gambling revenue. Traditional betting shops and casinos pay a suggested fee of around 0.4%.

According to the government, the levy would raise an estimated £100 million (€115.5 million/$121.7 million) a year.

The operators would pay the levy to the Gambling Commission. This is to ensure that all licensed operators in the UK pay their fair share. The current voluntary levy system allows operators to pay a certain amount.

With consultation on the levy ending in mid-December, Osmond welcomed the introduction of the statutory levy, saying: “GambleAware welcomes the introduction of a statutory industry levy to fund research, prevention and treatment of gambling harm (RPT).

“This is something we have been calling for for a long time and represents an important step in efforts to tackle gambling harm.

“After years of uncertainty, the levy will provide clarity on the funding of the gambling claims sector, support long-term planning and prevent duplication.”

Legal levy: GambleAware sees potential problems

Although GambleAware supports the levy overall, Osmond also explained a number of concerns she had about its implementation.

Osmond called for the development of a national strategy to tackle gambling harm, which was not included in the proposals. Osmond also proposed the appointment of a single commissioner responsible for the prevention and treatment of gambling addiction.

GambleAware also wants a change to the proposed funding allocations, which it believes “do not adequately reflect the potential benefits of early intervention at the population level.”

Progress of the white paper

The Gambling Law Review white paper, published in April 2023, outlined how the UK plans to change how gambling is regulated.

The white paper includes proposals on affordability checks, sports betting and slot numbers. Consultations began in July and the first round on financial risks and vulnerabilities ended in October. In total, over 3,000 entries were submitted.

The next round of advice will cover seven topics, including the possibility of opting for online bonuses. It is expected to be completed in February or March, according to Tim Miller, the commission’s executive director of policy.

The Betting & Gaming Council (BGC), which largely supported the white paper, has already spoken out in favor of the planned levy. However, there are calls for the levy to go further and apply to all operators, including the National Lottery.