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UK – Casino operators announce historic funding guarantee for GambleAware

By - 29 November 2017

The UK’s land-based casino operators have agreed for the first time to guarantee 0.1 per cent of their annual Gross Gaming Yield (GGY) will go directly to the charity GambleAware.

Most operators currently channel donations to GambleAware through their trade association, the National Casino Forum, and also donate to other charities, totalling at least 0.1% of GGY. But they are introducing a new, transparent mechanism to show their commitment to meet or exceed the voluntary annual funding target for the sector.

Casino operators are committed to promoting safe gambling and industry donations are used by GambleAware to fund education, harm prevention, and treatment services related to gambling addiction.

The National Casino Forum is changing its terms of membership to make clear that all operators will be expected to donate 0.1% of their GGY in full to GambleAware and the NCF is guaranteeing that the sector’s total financial commitment to GambleAware will be met. Under the new system, donations to other charities will be in addition to the 0.1% donation to GambleAware and documented separately.

Under the terms of their licence conditions, the Gambling Commission requires all operators to make an annual financial contribution to organisations which research the prevention and treatment of gambling-related harm, develop harm prevention approaches and fund treatment of those harmed by gambling.

GambleAware was given the responsibility of raising funds to deliver the National Responsible Gambling Strategy under an agreement between the industry, the regulator and ministers in 2012.
It is funded by all sectors of the gambling industry and was set an annual target of £10m for 2016-17 by the Responsible Gambling Strategy Board, which advises the Gambling Commission and the UK government.

The charity recently announced it had received a record number of donations, raising £8m, but was 20% short of its annual target. Chief executive Marc Etches said he would support the introduction of a compulsory levy if the voluntary system failed to deliver.

Tracy Damestani, chief executive of the NCF said: “This is a historic commitment by casino operators. They are guaranteeing that the casino sector will donate 0.1 per cent of Gross Gambling Yield to GambleAware, in addition to making other charitable donations. They are underpinning this pledge by introducing a transparent new payment system.

“The casino sector has always supported fundraising for research, education and treatment,
and casino operators are determined to go beyond both the letter and the spirit of the Act in their support for responsible and safer gambling. They want to ensure that research, education, prevention and treatment programmes are fully funded across the gambling industry.”

GambleAware Chief Executive Marc Etches said: “It is imperative that all businesses deriving a profit from commercial gambling in Britain support GambleAware in the delivery of the National Responsible Gambling Strategy. This initiative by NCF’s members will ensure transparency in relation to the casino sector’s funding of research, education and treatment, and sets an important bench-mark for others”.

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