Zoe Osmond: Mandatory levy needed to bring full transparency to RET funding

Zoe Osmond Chief Executive of GambleAware has restated that UK gambling’s existing voluntary agreement to fund problem gambling research, education and treatment (RET) programmes is no longer fit for purpose.

GambleAware’s CEO has issued a response to weekend news reports that the NHS will announce that it will no longer accept funds/donations from gambling-associated charities.  A decision taken to protect the integrity of the NHS’ network of problem gambling clinics and further medical research.

Acknowledging integrity concerns, Osmond reiterated that full transparency of problem gambling RET programmes would be achieved if the government imposed a mandatory funding model on UK licensed operators.

“GambleAware has long called for the creation of a mandatory funding model to address gambling harms to ensure all operators are held accountable,” Osmond stated.

“GambleAware is an independent charity, working to deliver the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms. We recognise that a whole system approach is needed which involves a coordinated and coherent approach, in partnership with others including the NHS.”

As such last April, GambleAware made its headline recommendation to DCMS consultation of the 2005 Gambling Act, that a mandatory 1% GGY levy be imposed on UK licensed operators to help fund RET projects and programmes.

“We support a mandatory levy of 1% GGY across all operators to ensure consistency and transparency across the industry,” Osmond reflected.

“Having such a system in place would provide the sustainable funding which is vital for the delivery of research, treatment and prevention. We look forward to the outcome of the Government White Paper.”

Concluding her statement, Osmond underscored GambleAware’s full transparency on independence from the UK gambling sector. As stands the charity maintains a ‘framework agreement’ with the UK Gambling Commission to collect voluntary funds from licensed operators – a funding model GambleAware seeks to change.

Fulfilling its role as the UK’s main grant distributor of RET projects, GambleAware is governed by an “expert Board of trustees, the majority of whom work in the health sector, including the NHS, to commission evidence-informed services according to need.

“We have a robust and accountable system of governance processes and procedures established to ensure the gambling industry has absolutely no influence over any of our activity.”

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