Brigid Simmonds comments on new statutory levy consultations for betting operators

Brigid Simmonds, the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) Chairman, has released a statement regarding the statutory levy consultations behind held that would affect betting operators.

The consultations being held by the Gambling Commission are related to funding changes for Research, Education and Treatment (RET) for gambling harm.

While the BGC initially proposed a mandatory levy to the Government before the White Paper was published, the direction of the levy has since changed.

Simmonds explains: “We do have some concerns about the current consultation.

“We have never been in favour of a blanket approach that ignores the diversity of our membership with some members having disproportionately higher costs such as betting shops, bingo halls and casinos.

“And we believe it should apply to all operators including the National Lottery, without affecting the good causes it supports.”

The current consultation includes a sliding scale, but the BGC is concerned that it will be unfair in practice.

Simmonds continues: “The National Lottery’s contribution to GambleAware over the last three years has been approximately 0.01 per cent of their annual Gross Gambling Yield (GGY).

"This equates to an average donation of around £440,000 each year on GGY of around £3.5bn.

“While our members contributed in excess of £50m between 2022/23,slot bonus buy it seems absurd they should get a free pass when it comes to funding RET.”

On the other hand, while Adult Gaming Centres will be required to pay 0.1% towards RET, independent bookies could be expected to pay four times more.

The BGC is concerned that this could lead to more bookmakers closing, with over 170 independent venues closing since 2019.

Finally, Simmonds questions the proposed allocation of funds, with 40-60% going towards the NHS, 15-30% on prevention and education and 10-20% towards research.

While the NHS does provide gambling treatment clinics, Simmonds questions whether this allocation is disproportionate considering the efforts of other charities such as GamCare and Gordon Moody. 

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