Laura Sharman 24 January 2018

Think tank calls for 1% levy on gambling industry to help treat addictions

Funding to help problem gamblers is three times less than funding to treat alcohol or drug abuse, a think tank has highlighted.

ResPublica said that the amount spent on problem gambling research, education and treatment is only £133 per head. However, £377 is spent tackling drug addiction, while £385 is spent on alcohol misuse.

In its submission to the consultation on changes to gambling, ResPublica is calling for a mandatory levy set at 1% of industry profits to help fund addiction treatment. It said this would raise £135m and bring it into line with the treatment for drug and alcohol addictions.

It also wants problem gambling to be put at the heart of the government’s public health strategy.

Phillip Blond, director of ResPublica, said: 'Our recommendation to the Government to introduce a mandatory levy set at 1% of gambling industry profits raising £135m would close the concerning disparity of funding of £133 per capita spent on problem gambling versus the £377 per capita on drug addiction and £385 per capita on alcohol addiction.

'Furthermore, extending oversight of problem gambling to the DHSC would demonstrate that the Government is committed to improving public health and delivering a programme of wide-ranging social reforms.'

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