UK Gambling Commission considers mandatory industry levy

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) is considering introducing a mandatory levy on gambling companies. The regulator is considering introducing this levy to help finance treatment for problem gambling.

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All licensed UK gambling firms would be made to pay the levy should it be introduced. © Pexels.

The Gambling Commission is considering introducing a mandatory levy that will affect all UK licensed gambling firms. The Commission has asked for industry and public comments on the proposal. The Gambling Commission has long stated its desire to involve stakeholders in the implementation of the National Responsible Gambling Strategy.

The National Responsible Gambling Strategy is the framework that coordinates the government’s attempts to tackle issues related to gambling. The strategy was developed by the Responsible Gambling Strategy Board (RGSB), while the Gambling Commission adopt the strategies and set priorities. Currently, there are 12 priority actions identified ranging from education and harm prevention, to ensuring operators have a more proactive attitude when dealing with vulnerable customers.

Recently, the UKGC has been hitting both the online and offline gambling markets hard. The restriction on the maximum stake on fixed-odds betting terminals will hit bookmakers on the high street, with the majority of their shop’s income coming from these machines. Online operators will see the level of taxation increase from the current level of 15% to 21% in April, a move that is likely to cost the operators in excess of £1.25bn over a five-year period.

If the recommendation for this levy is accepted, it is proposed that the monies generated would go to one or more organisations, which must be approved by the Gambling Commission. The Commission has asked the operators for feedback on which organisations they would choose to be a beneficiary.

As well as asking opinions on the proposed levy and who should benefit from it, the Gambling Commission is also asking the industry for ideas on how they can improve the National Responsible Gambling Strategy. The Commission would like industry insiders to think of suggestions of the five priority objectives. These are harm minimisation, improving treatment, research and evaluation of existing measures, raising awareness and acceptance by public and private organisations, as well as a commitment to developing a better understanding of gambling related-harm.

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