The UK’s biggest bookmakers have agreed to increase funding for problem gambling treatment to £100m over the next four years.
Owners have confirmed that they will increase their voluntary levy on gambling profits from 0.1 percent to 1 percent.
The companies include Ladbrokes Coral, Paddy Power Betfair, Skybet, William Hill and Bet 365.
“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” commented Peter Jackson, chief executive of Flutter Entertainment, the holding company behind Paddy Power Betfair.
“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.”
GambleAware chief executive Marc Etches, told the BBC: “We welcome this initiative by the leading operators. It’s essential there is sufficient funding to provide for treatment and support for both problem gamblers and for those who are ‘at risk’. Particularly the young and vulnerable.
“Customers should be able to gamble in a safe environment, where help and advice is readily available.”
Etches commented that collaboration is It is vital to ensure that operators continue to focus on making gambling products safer. He added it was of equal importance “that treatment and support is properly funded alongside other initiatives.”
The increased contribution comes at a time when media coverage of problem gambling has scarcely been higher. In addition to the voluntary levy the companies pledged to make safe gambling messages more prominent in marketing material.