BMJ article calls for new tax to fund responsible gambling initiatives

According to an article published by The British Medical Journal (BMJ), there should be more emphasis placed upon the revamping of current gambling laws in order to prioritise the funding of problem gambling clinics.

The report has called for the introduction of a mandatory tax on the industry which would see additional funds being allocated to industry initiatives and the establishment of further treatment clinics.

The proposed tax is set to replace the current tax in place on the gambling industry in which operators and suppliers pay a voluntary levy equivalent to 0.1 per cent of their revenues.

The article, entitled Gambling and public health: we need policy action to prevent harmhas suggested that social responsibility initiatives are currently underfunded in the UK, and so the creation of a new gambling tax will help facilitate this.

Previously, the gambling charity organisation GambleAware has called for the imposition of a mandatory levy at a higher level to be imposed on the industry – a demand which has been supported by both the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) and the Labour Party. The Sports Minister Mims Davies, however, has recently claimed that the voluntary system does work.

The BMJ article suggests a complete overhaul of the Gambling Act 2005, passed under the Blair’ government, to place more onus on the industry in treating said problems.

The industry has, however, placed much more emphasis upon initiatives which are tailored towards the treatment of gambling related harms.

Through the work of industry charities, there has been increased collaboration with the NHS and others to help direct people to the best suited intervention, with the charity having already commissioned specialist treatment for gambling addiction and Central & North West London NHS Foundation Trust since 2008.

Further clinics are set to open later in the year, as well as the availability of problem gambling helplines and advice centres.

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