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Ditching gambling levy would betray punters

Gambling
29 June 2022
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CARE has expressed concern that a proposed statutory levy on betting companies has been ditched by the Govt.

The Times reports that Ministers are poised to announce a long-awaited whitepaper on reform of Britain’s outdated gambling legislation.

New curbs on betting are expected to include a maximum stake of between £2 and £5 for online casinos, and a ban on free bets.

However, a proposed levy of 1% per annum on the gambling industry to pay for addiction treatment and research has reportedly been shelved.

Ministers are also said to have thrown out a plan to ban gambling companies from sponsoring Premier League football shirts.

Ross Hendry, CEO of CARE, commented:

“We will reserve our full judgment on the whitepaper until it is published but if today’s reports are anything to go by, it looks like the proposal will be missing teeth.

“The reported maximum stake for online casinos and ban on dangerous incentives like free bets are welcome measures that will help protect the vulnerable.

"But many groups called for a statutory levy on firms, which pay a pittance towards services for people experiencing problem gambling. A just levy should form the backbone of reforms to our laws, which are no longer fit for purpose.

"Ditching the ‘polluters pay’ tax would amount to a betrayal of punters. We urge Ministers to think again. The interests of a powerful gambling lobby must not be prioritised over the welfare of the British public.”

ENDS

About CARE

Christian Action Research and Education (CARE) provides analysis of social policy from a Christian perspective. For more information or to request an interview, contact Jamie Gillies | jamie.gillies@care.org.uk

Notes for Editors

Case studies of gambling harm

'Gambling as addictive as heroin' | CARE
Parents vie for gambling law reforms after son's tragic death | CARE
Paul Merson: ‘I wouldn’t wish gambling addiction on anyone’ | CARE

Useful facts/statistics

A review of evidence on gambling-related harms by the UK Govt (Sept 21) found:

  • The annual economic burden of harmful gambling is approximately £1.27 billion.
  • The overall estimated excess cost of health harms is £961.3 million.
  • Financial harms focused on homelessness is estimated to be £62.8 million
  • The estimated excess cost of suicide is £619.2 million
  • The estimated excess cost of depression is £335.5 million
  • The estimated excess cost of alcohol dependence is £4.7 million
  • The estimated excess cost of illicit drug use is £2.0 million
  • The excess cost of employment-related harms is estimated to be £79.5 million


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Gambling

While for some, gambling is just harmless fun, for a significant minority it causes genuine devastation. Our vision is to see laws passed that will help protect vulnerable problem gamblers.

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