UKGC to Spend £9m on Gambling Addiction Support Services
by Glenn Baird - April 29, 2020
The Gambling Commission in the UK has announced today that it will be using money seized from operators for regulatory breaches to provide financial support to gambling addiction support charities.
£9m will be paid to GambleAware, a charity set up to support problem gamblers, a service that is likely to need additional funds during the UK’s lockdown period.
The UKGC has stated that the money will be given to GambleAware who, along with their partners, will be able to use those additional funds to help support with the “additional pressures” that have resulted since the outbreak of Covid-19 in the country.
The Commission has confirmed in its statement that there has been an increased demand for such services and as such has chosen to take funds from regulatory settlements to help “build resilience in the treatment and support system during a period of uncertainty.”
Whilst the UKGC has evidence to suggest that there has been a reduction in the number of people participating in online gambling there does appear to have been in increase in the numbers accessing online casino games.
William Moyes, Chairman of the Gambling Commission, said: “In the current climate, and with the potential risks to British consumers in mind, we have fast-tracked this settlement-driven funding to GambleAware so their work to prevent gambling harms and award grants can continue seamlessly.
“In addition to a tough and flexible regulatory system, it’s vital that organisations such as GambleAware and their partners can continue the great work they do, especially at times when there is an elevated risk of gambling harm with people staying at home due to social distancing measures.
“Through the use of regulatory action to prevent harm, such as the ban of credit for gambling, alongside the use of regulatory settlements to support treatment services, the Commission is taking wide ranging action to address the additional risk of harm that may come from Covid-19.”
Marc Etches, CEO of GambleAware, said: “We welcome the receipt of these regulatory settlements at this uncertain time. Guided by a public health model, GambleAware commissions prevention and treatment services across England, Scotland and Wales in partnership with expert organisations and agencies, including the NHS. These funds will enable us to provide greater security around the funding of the National Gambling Treatment Service, and help keep people safe from gambling harms.”
Since the beginning of 2020 the UKGC has seized roughly £27m from UK operators for failing to meet regulatory requirements.