Five of the UK’s leading gaming providers have joined forces to create a new independent committee that would focus on the funding for responsible gaming and the treatment of problem gambling, and advice on how best to allocate it. They have asked the Conservative Party peer Lord Chadlington to become the chair of the newly founded organization.
The five firms initiating the plans for the new committee are bet365, Flutter Entertainment (owning Betfair and Paddy Power), GVC (owning Ladbrokes Coral), Sky Betting and Gaming, and William Hill. They also expect to pay any administrative costs. The members of the committee will receive no financial reward and will act solely on voluntary basis. Even though the only known part of the committee at the moment is Lord Chadlington, more appointments are anticipated to take place in September.
The committee will publish recommendations based on input from all parties
The idea behind the new organisation is to release “recommendations on the most appropriate mechanisms for receiving and administering funds and monitoring their deployment.” First of these sets of recommendations is expected to see the light by the end of 2019 and it intends to build on contributions from all parties involved in the gambling scene.
Lord Chadlington summed up the principle as follows:
“The committee will consult widely to formulate its recommendations taking account in particular of the views of government, regulators, the third sector, gambling operators and those with lived experience.”
He also added a comment on his role in the organisation:
“I am pleased to accept the invitation to chair this committee particularly as the five gambling companies are committed to implementing any reasonable recommendations it may make. I will announce the membership of the committee by mid-September.”
The chair of the upcoming committee has ties to the issues related to gambling and the treatment of problem gambling too — for a number of years he used to hold a position of Director at the charity Action on Addiction and earlier this year he called for NHS to “submit gambling to the same forensic analysis adopted for the use of alcohol or tobacco.”
The “Big Five” has proven an ongoing commitment to creating safe gambling environment
Not only do the five companies belong to the leaders in the industry, they are also making their name as the leading forces in the battle for safer and more responsible gambling among the operators in the UK. This came to attention in June, when they pledged to increase their voluntary donation to the treatment of problem gambling from 0.1% to 1% by 2023. That would bring the total contributions to $67.1 million, which would be a significant improvement for the country as the current annual funding keeps falling short by millions due to other companies taking advantage of the voluntary nature of the donations.
In addition, as of 1st August 2019, the afore mentioned companies agreed on a “whistle-to-whistle” ban on advertising during sports, with GVC taking it even further and demanding a total ban on broadcast advertising by gambling operators, as well as ending football shirt sponsorship deals. The latter initiative has also been taken up by Paddy Power which recently launched its “Save Our Shirt” campaign.
The Big Five’s dedication to safer gambling practices and their belief in the importance of the new body being established has been expressed in a statement of their spokesperson, who declared:
“We are absolutely committed to providing further funding toward treatment and other responsible gambling initiatives, and we believe the committee will identify and recommend how best to deploy effectively this investment. We believe this is an important step towards creating a safer gambling environment and look forward to reviewing and implementing its recommendations later this year.”