More Money for Addiction Protection in the UK: Who Will Ensure It's Good Use?Published July 25, 2019 by Lee R
A critical government and a skeptical public now need to provide constructive assistance to make increased pledges pay off.
In the world's largest market, prominent operators are pooling investment into problem gambling protection and programming.
The New Pledge
In what they are calling a “step change” in how they tackle addiction, UK operators William Hill, Ladbrokes Coral, Paddy Power Betfair, Skybet and Bet 365 have pledged to increase their voluntary levy on gambling profits from 0.1% to 1% up to 2023, a fractional bump which nonetheless translates to a healthy £60m contribution mathematically, with the full pledge quoted at up to £100m on treatment.
Paddy Power Boss Speaks
Flutter Entertainment CEO Peter Jackson--whose company controls UK operating giant Paddy Power--called the agreement "an unprecedented level of commitment and collaboration by the leading companies in the British betting and gaming sector to address gambling-related harm."
GambleAware CEO Speaks
Charitable organisation GambleAware's CEO said his organisation “welcomed this initiative” because "customers should be able to gamble in a safe environment, where help and advice is readily available” while emphasising the priority of working “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.”
Added Protection Implementation
The protection pledge was bolstered by an additional commitment of the five firms to increase the safety of gambling messages in advertisements by actively reviewing their marketing and sponsorship materials for "tone and content.”
At Risk Populations
At this juncture, research estimates that some 430,000 people suffer from serious gambling addictions in the UK, with another 1.5 million at risk. And a small but more serious segment among this cohort is the 55,000 children and young people aged 11 to 16.
According to Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport Jeremy Wright, the obligation to correct those who fall prey extends beyond tackling prevention to contributions to the cost of treatment for rebuilding the lives of those affected.
What seems to be missing to this point from plans to increase fund apportions is a body which exists for the sole purpose of finding more effective solutions for problem gambling, vis a vis doing the right things with the new pledged capital infusion and ensuring that those funds are used according to their purpose.
As the timeless saying goes, you can't solve a problem just by throwing money at it. Hopefully the UK government and operators can work together to proactively generate programming as well as specialist organizations to disburse funds and implement effective programming with the new available funds.