Shadow Minister Shares Thoughts on RET Funding Issue January 24, 2023 Mike Ashley

Shadow Minister Shares Thoughts on RET Funding Issue

Jeff SmithSummary

  • Jeff Smith MP said RET funding concerns must be addressed in the White Paper
  • Smith wants White Paper to provide clear information on RET funding
  • Betting and Gaming Council is opposed to statutory levy on RET funding

Young Gamers and Gamblers Education Trust (YGAM) recently held a Parliamentary Reception in Westminster where it launched its new strategy focusing on safeguarding children and young people from the risks related to gambling.

The event was hosted by former Gambling Minister Damian Collins and was attended by an array of guests, including policymakers, academics, charities, MPs, and government officials.

Gambling White Paper Must Address RET Funding Concerns

The Gambling Act Review White Paper was among the key topics discussed during the event. Among the speakers was Shadow Minister for Sport, Tourism, Heritage and Music Jeff Smith MP who said the White Paper must give a “clear steer” on funding for research, education, and treatment (RET).

The Labour MP’s comments come amid concerns the existing voluntary system on RET funding is ineffective and structurally flawed.

Gambling reform campaigners have pointed out multiple shortcomings associated with the current system, such as its inability to create sustainable funding for relevant harm prevention, education, and support services provided by charities such as Ygam. Hence, they are calling on the government to introduce a statutory levy that would significantly increase funding for RET.

BGC Opposed To Statutory Levy On RET Funding

The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) is opposing the measure, with the association’s chair Brigid Simmonds describing it as a “big step backwards”. The BGC is standing by the current funding structure, highlighting the industry’s continuing efforts in tackling gambling harm, such as the commitment by the UK’s four biggest betting operators to raise £100 million in RET funding by 2024.

But GambleAware, which receives the bulk of voluntary donations from gambling operators as the primary commissioner of harm-prevention services, supports the introduction of a statutory levy. The charity, which has been criticized for its link with the industry, is backing proposals for the mandatory levy to be set at 1% of gross gambling yield (GGY).

Smith said the work of independent charities like Ygam and GambleAware is crucial in protecting people from harm and helping those who are already struggling with gambling-related issues. Ongoing concerns around the sustainability of their services must be addressed in the forthcoming White Paper so that all stakeholders can be clear on the way forward.

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