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Gambling firms pledge £60m to help problem gamblers

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Gambling firms pledge £60m to help problem gamblers 2nd July 2019

The BBC reports that the UK's biggest gambling firms have agreed to contribute more money to fund treatment for problem gamblers.

The owners of William Hill, Ladbrokes Coral, Paddy Power Betfair, Skybet and Bet 365 will increase their voluntary levy on gambling profits from 0.1% to 1% up to 2023 - a contribution of £60m.

The companies claimed that the increased funding will be a “step change” in the treatment of problem gamblers.  The increased funding comes after the industry was criticised on the amount they spend on helping problem gamblers compared to their marketing budgets.  The BBC also reported that earlier this month, NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens warned betting firms could be taxed to pay for addiction treatment.

Marc Etches, chief executive of charity GambleAware, told the BBC: "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."

Jeremy Wright, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, said the gambling industry had a responsibility to tackle problem gambling and contribute to the cost of treatment to rebuild the lives of those affected.

"We will monitor closely the progress of these new measures and encourage the wider industry to step up. The government will not hesitate to take further action to protect people from gambling related harm."

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