UK Considers Taxing Gambling Firms to Fund Addiction Programs


Bookmakers, PayPal casinos, betting sites, poker rooms beware! Earlier this week the Department for Digital Culture, Media, and Sport received a couple of recommendations for the changes to the UK gambling laws. The two most significant changes proposed are the ban of the credit cards for online gambling and the obligatory tax on gambling companies to help fund gambling addiction treatments and programs.

These two suggestions were submitted by the British independent public policy think tank called ResPublica. They offered some interesting insight into how much gambling companies spend on gambling addiction education and research compared to other companies from different industries like drug, tobacco, and alcohol.

For example, online casinos, bookmakers, and other gambling firms are just spending £133 per person. On the other hand, drug and alcohol companies spend £377 and £385 per person respectively. This is a massive difference, hence the request for a mandatory tax of 1% of the gambling industry’s profits.

Currently, casino sites have no obligations to fund the addiction treatment programs. They just give it on a voluntary basis, which is let’s face it, not that often. The GambleAware and Citizens’ Advice charity organisations backed up the ResPublica requests.

The two charities added that they were only able to treat 8,800 addicted gamblers. This number is less than 2% of the total number of the UK gambling addicts, which is somewhere around 430,000.

Finally, the ResPublica pointed out the dangers of credit card use in online gambling. They claim that credit cards significantly increase the chances of players gambling more than they can afford.

Marc Etches, the chief executive of GambleAware, had this to say, “With 430,000 problem gamblers and a further two million adults at risk of developing a problem, GambleAware is concerned about the impact this hidden addiction has on people’s lives.”

Whether these two recommendations will come to use or not, we won’t know until the consultation ends. However, there is no doubt that the UK gambling laws need a little bit of tune-up.