MP Jeremy Wright Happy with £100 Million Problem Gambling Strategy

Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Jeremy Wright has addressed the issue of problem gambling in Parliament.

Jeremy Wright problem gambling push

Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Jeremy Wright is happy operators are pushing to reduce problem gambling in the UK. (Image: Jack Taylor/Getty Images)

Delivered on July 2, the statement centred on the responsible gaming provisions currently in place across the country.

His opening gambit focused on the gaming industry’s importance for the economy. Acknowledging the contributions operators make to the national coffers, Wright said a “healthy” industry was important.

Operators Working to Protect Consumers

However, to ensure problem gambling doesn’t become an epidemic, he said the industry needs to protect consumers.

We can all agree that it’s best to prevent harm before it occurs, and to step in early when people are at risk. But we also need to offer the right support for those people who do experience harm,” Wright told MPs.

During the speech, Wright referenced recent changes to fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs). In tandem with stricter ID checks for online gaming sites, FOBT changes have been hailed as a positive step.

The focal point of the statement was a pledge by five gaming operators. First discussed in June, the move has now been confirmed by Wright.

As part of the new strategy, William Hill, bet365, GVC, Flutter (formerly Paddy Power Betfair) and Sky Betting & Gaming will up their voluntary contributions.

Preventing Problem Gambling is Paramount

As well as upping their payments tenfold over the next four years, £100 million will go to treating gambling addiction.

To ensure parity, the operators will publicly report their progress alongside any filings they make to the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC).

As ever, anti-gambling advocates may feel the new contributions aren’t enough. In fact, even though he acknowledged things aren’t perfect, Wright is happy things are moving in the right direction.

Had he pushed for a statutory levy, it would have initiated a lengthy legal process. For the MP, speeding things up by accepting a voluntary levy was the best course of action.

Indeed, with operators required to be transparent and accountable for every contribution, the system should help reduce problem gambling in the UK.

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