Remote Gambling Association Calls for Problem Gambling Levy

RGA’s Chief Executive Clive Hawkswood.

RGA Chief Executive Clive Hawkswood wants operators to pay a fixed fee to support problem gambling projects. (Image:

The Remote Gambling Association (RGA) wants better funding to tackle problem gambling awareness projects through the implementation of a fixed levy.

In a press release published on December 11, the trade association for online gaming companies licensed in the UK called for a statutory tax to help fund research and treatment of problem gambling.

Under the current system, operators aren’t obliged to pay anything towards the running costs of organisations such as GambleAware. Instead, the majority make individual donations.

RGA Wants Positive Reforms

However, in light of recent calls to impose betting limits on fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs) and other restrictions to tackle problem gambling, the RGA is now in supporting of changing things.

“There has been much to commend in the voluntary funding system, but if we are to combat problem gambling to the best of our ability and to minimise gambling related harm, then now is the time for change and for a fresh start,” said RGA’s Chief Executive, Clive Hawkswood.

At the end of October, the minister for gambling, Tracey Crouch, said that the government will be cutting the maximum stake on FOBTs. On top of this, it will be implementing five additional measures.

Within the list of measures set to come into force in 2018, a series of new campaigns designed to highlight the potential problems associated with gambling will be launched. For this, the government has proposed a budget of between £5 and £7 million and for GambleAware to collaborate with the Advertising Association, broadcasters and other groups.

The RGA was initially sceptical of this move, but it has since come out in favour of a system that will guarantee GambleAware projects more money.

An Opportunity to Show Operators Care

Pre-empting any backlash from operators that don’t believe they should pay a fixed fee to support the agency, Hawkswood said that this should be seen as an opportunity rather than a threat. As well as suggesting that it will help everyone fulfil their social responsibility obligations, the RGA chief believes a levy would help bolster the industry’s reputation.

Throughout 2017, UK gambling regulators and operators have taken something of a battering in the mainstream media. As stories of players losing thousands on FOBTs collided with footballers making illegal wagers, there’s no doubt a positive step towards social responsibility will help create a more positive image.

When the government’s 12-week gambling consultation comes to a close on January 23, 2018, Hawkswood has said the RGA will propose ways that a new levy system could be implemented.

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