The UK gambling industry’s self-funded problem gambling charity has fallen short of its target yet again. On Friday, GambleAware charity revealed that the voluntary contributions from UK gambling operators over the past 12 months, ending March 31 was only £9.6 million. This number could not match the £10 million goal set by the charity. This year’s collection was “marginally more” than last year, but it appears that the operators are not sharing 0.1% of the gambling revenue that they are supposed to remit.
However, regulatory settlements for the charity increased during the period. GambleAware, along with the UK Gambling Commission increased its enforcement activity dramatically. In 2018 alone, they slapped penalties of £27 million. GambleAware received £7.3 million in the last 12-month period.
The shortfall in voluntary funding doesn’t mean that the charity will close its doors. However, it warned that the funding needs should be increased under the new National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms by the UKGC. This three-year program was announced last month and is expected to include a firmer regulatory enforcement approach towards gambling operators.
However, the charity’s itemized list of contributions from licensed operators in the UK suggests that many companies are only publicly supporting their social obligations. Several operators wrote large checks for the contributions including GVC holdings which gave £1.46 million. William Hill contributed £1 million, Paddy Power Betfair gave £445k, Gamesys gave £437k, and Camelot gave £390k.
32Red contributed £384k, Genting gave £212k, and The Stars Group gave £125k. Interestingly, some operators made token contributions of £250, and some even contributed meager sums of £5 or £10. A bizarre entry in the list was the National Society for Epilepsy which contributed only £1 apiece.
The failure contradicts directly with a speech made last week by Mims Davies, Minister for Sports and Civil Society. She stood by the existing voluntary funding model as said that it was capable of delivering sustainable funding and meet increased targets for the charity. Only a few moments before her speech, William Moyes, the UKGC chairman had noted that a mandatory funding regime was essential to collect enough money to fund gambling research, education, and treatment program.
GVC Holdings has been taking the lead in the industry to improve its contribution to problem gambling research and treatment. The company has been the highest contributor to GambleAware and is planning to increase its funding by devoting about 1% of their revenue to fund research and treatment programs.