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Gambling firms in the United Kingdom have pledged to pay higher voluntary contributions to support initiatives that help people with gambling-related problems.
Five British gambling companies — Skybet, William Hill, Paddy Power Betfair, Ladbrokes Coral, and Bet365 — offered to increase their contributions from 0.1% to 1% over the next four years. These five companies detailed their offer in a letter to the UK Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport (DCMS). This initiative is part of the gambling industry’s move to step up its efforts to proactively address gambling-related issues.
According to deputy leader Tom Watson of the UK Labour Party, gambling in the United Kingdom is a pressing public health issue. The Gambling Commission, a government agency regulating gambling operations in the United Kingdom, reported that about 430,000 people in the country suffer from serious gambling addiction.
Amid concerns on gambling problems in the country, Secretary of State for DCMS Jeremy Wright urged the gambling industry to keep their players’ safety in mind. He also said that firms should take their social responsibility to heart, which includes funding research, treatment, and education to deal with the harmful effects of gambling.
The companies are planning to spend a total of £100 million on gambling addiction treatment for the following years. They will also work with health organizations to know which areas need funding the most.
Wright said that the DCMS will monitor the companies’ commitments closely. He promised that the government will not back down from its responsibility to protect people’s welfare against the harm caused by gambling.