Business News

Britain’s five leading gambling companies have committed to spend £100m on gambling addiction treatment services over the next four years as part of a wider package of safer gambling measures and support for people experiencing problems.

bet365, Flutter Entertainment, GVC Holdings, Sky Betting and Gaming and William Hill announced a package of measures Tuesday to fund an expansion of treatment for problem gamblers and initiatives to create a safer gambling environment.

This includes a ten-fold increase in voluntary contributions to support safer gambling from the current 0.1 per cent of gross gaming yield to 1.0 per cent by 2023.

This will see the five operators spend £100m over the next four years to enhance problem gambling treatment in coordination with the UK’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the Department for Health and Social Care, with the key priority to quadruple the number of those accessing treatment from 2.5 to 10 per cent.

The operators have also agreed to increase safer gambling messaging in their advertising and to support dedicated campaigns, alongside reviewing the tone and content of all their marketing, advertising and sponsorship programmes.

The package of measures also includes a commitment to greater information sharing to protect problem gamblers from experiencing further harm, building on the multi-operator self-exclusion scheme GAMSTOP and its land-based equivalent.

In order to ensure transparency, the five operators will report publicly on their progress in their annual assurance statements to the UK Gambling Commission, including confirmation of the payment of the 1 per cent voluntary contribution.

“This is an unprecedented level of commitment and collaboration by the leading companies in the British betting and gaming sector to address gambling-related harm and promote safer gambling,” said Flutter Entertainment chief executive Peter Jackson on behalf of all five companies.

“The whistle-to-whistle advertising ban was a good start, now we are funding a significant expansion in treatment and we continue to work on a number of areas of collaboration and best practice. Our aim is nothing less than a step change in how we tackle gambling-related harm.”

Lord Chadlington, a Conservative peer and leading advocate for safer gambling measures, commented: “This initiative should ensure that the necessary reforms to protect the young and vulnerable particularly with the growth of online gambling will be rooted in independent research – on everything from online gambling harms to associated suicide. That evidence base should also be used for education and for treatment.

“We must be certain that through the consultation process, a means is secured for the funds to be administered and the programmes evaluated, independent of the contributing companies and the gambling industry as a whole.”

Shares in Flutter Entertainment plc. (LSE:FLTR) were trading down 2.46 per cent in London following the announcement Tuesday at 6,020.00 pence per share, while shares in GVC Holdings plc. (LSE:GVC) were down 1.46 per cent at 659.80 pence per share. William Hill plc. (LSE:WMH) was trading down 1.94 per cent at 153.80 pence per share.