Gambling Commission allocates £9m to GambleAware projects amid COVID-19 pandemic

The Gambling Commission has directed to £9m to help boost the resilience of gambling harm treatment services during the coronavirus pandemic.

The UK Gambling Commission announced it will direct £9m in funds from regulatory settlements to the commissioning charity GambleAware during the coronavirus pandemic.

The £9m package

The funds directed to GambleAware will be used to help ensure gambling harm treatment and support services can continue to operate effectively and withstand the pressures bought on by the pandemic.

This will include providing support to projects that have moved to alternative models of delivery such as providing online support and improving the treatment and existing support systems in place.

The UK regulator said that although research suggests there has been a dip in gambling participation since the UK entered lockdown in March, there is evidence that some people are using gambling products such as online slots, poker and casinos more than they were before.

The £9m in funding was taken from regulatory settlements where the Commission ruled that gambling operators were in breach social responsibility, customer interaction and money laundering regulations.

Since January 2020, regulatory investigations carried out by the Commission has led to the gambling industry paying a combined £27m in settlement funds.

William Moyes, Chairman of the Gambling Commission, said: “In the current climate, and with the potential risks to British consumers in mind, we have fast-tracked this settlement-driven funding to GambleAware so their work to prevent gambling harms and award grants can continue seamlessly.

“In addition to a tough and flexible regulatory system, it’s vital that organisations such as GambleAware and their partners can continue the great work they do, especially at times when there is an elevated risk of gambling harm with people staying at home due to social distancing measures.

“Through the use of regulatory action to prevent harm, such as the ban of credit for gambling, alongside the use of regulatory settlements to support treatment services, the Commission is taking wide ranging action to address the additional risk of harm that may come from Covid-19.”

Marc Etches, CEO of GambleAware, said: “We welcome the receipt of these regulatory settlements at this uncertain time. Guided by a public health model, GambleAware commissions prevention and treatment services across England, Scotland and Wales in partnership with expert organisations and agencies, including the NHS. These funds will enable us to provide greater security around the funding of the National Gambling Treatment Service and help keep people safe from gambling harms.”

GambleAware hits funding target

This news comes after GambleAware published its list of donors for the year ending 31 March 2020, which saw the charity receive donations from 965 organisations.

The donations made up a combined £10.1m and with these donations, GambleAware managed to exceed its target of £10m in donations after failing to hit the target in 2019.

The operator of Ladbrokes Coral, GVC Holdings, donated £1.46m to GambleAware making it the charity’s largest contributor for the year. Flutter Entertainment and William Hill were the next highest donors after each donating a total of £1m.

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