GambleAware’s Chief Executive Marc Etches has penned an open letter to the industry, praising the response to last year’s concerns regarding funding for problem gambling initiatives.
Detailing its voluntary donation system was, at the time, 60% below its funding target, Etches states that, despite ultimately falling below its £10m objective, a record breaking £9.4m was reached.
Announcing donations are being accepted for 2018/19, GambleAware is now also asking companies to self-certify the proportion of their gross gambling yield that donations represent.
The letter in full can be found below:
Last October we made very public our concerns regarding the industry’s funding of GambleAware. Six months later, it is only fair that, just as publicly, we acknowledge and thank all those in the industry who have helped us to achieve a record-breaking £9.4 million in voluntary donations, for the 12 months ending 31st March 2018. This total represents a 16% increase on the previous year.
Although the total was less than the minimum target of £10 million, which is expected to increase significantly, the industry’s response has been encouraging. We are now accepting donations for 2018/19 (year ending 31st March 2019) and donations can now be made online.
As you will read in our new donations FAQs, we are asking all companies to ‘self-certify’ the proportion of gross gambling yield (GGY) their donations to GambleAware represents, and we will be publishing details of the donations received on our website. Also, we are asking anyone donating more than £1,000 to pledge your support by 31st June 2018 even if you intend to make the donation later in the year, and for those donating over £250,000 to commit to quarterly payments if you prefer not to make payments in full by 31st June 2018.
These are just some of the actions we are taking to improve transparency and efficiency of the existing voluntary funding arrangements for the core research, education and treatment services required in the National Responsible Gambling Strategy. Only by all operators contributing a minimum of 0.1% of GGY, and doing so promptly, can we ensure the charity has certainty that it can meet its financial obligations to those organisations it has commissioned, as well as commit confidently to future investment.
In Great Britain, it is estimated that 430,000 people have a gambling problem and another 2 million are at risk of developing one. This is a public health issue that requires all organisations that have an interest to step up to the plate in the next twelve months to work positively and collaboratively to help reduce gambling-related harms, so we are looking beyond licence-holders for further sources of income and support.
Less than 2% of ‘problem gamblers’ are receiving treatment, representing a significant gap in services. With 2 million adults ‘at risk’ and nearly half a million 11 to 15-year-old children gambling every week in England and Wales (including 9,000 defined as ‘problem gamblers’), there is a need for significant investment in education and harm-prevention activity.
Later this month, GambleAware will publish updated commissioning and delivery plans for the next two years, underpinning its commitment to the National Responsible Gambling Strategy. For further information on how you can champion the work of GambleAware please do not hesitate to contact us.
Marc W Etches