By Greg Dawson
After criticism for their contribution to helping addicts, gambling firms are contributing more money to help fund treatment.
William Hill, Ladbrokes Coral, Paddy Power Betfair, Bet 365 to name a few will increase their voluntary levy on gambling profits up to 1% until the year 2023, contributing £60m. Leeds based Skybet is one of the companies which will take part in the contributions.
Earlier this month Simon Stevens, NHS Chief of staff warned the companies could be taxed to pay for addiction treatment. Stevens said the companies only gave a “fraction” of their profits on helping those that struggle with addiction, compared to the amount they spend on advertising and marketing.
The gambling Commissions figures how that there are 430,000 people with gambling addictions in the UK. This figure doesn’t include those deemed at risk of addiction. 55,000 of these are at the ages 11 to 16.
The five firms have agreed to increase safer gambling messages within adverts and will now further review the content of their marketing and advertising.
The BBC conducted an interview with Marc Etches, Chief Executive of GambleAware who said: “We welcome this initiative by the leading operators as it’s essential there is sufficient funding to provide for treatment and support for both problem gamblers and for those who are ‘at risk’ – particularly the young and vulnerable.
“Customers should be able to gamble in a safe environment, where help and advice is readily available at the point of need.
“It is vital that we work closely with the commission, government and other organisations to ensure that operators continue to focus on making gambling products safer, and that treatment and support is properly funded alongside other initiatives including the Safer Gambling campaign, Bet Regret.”