The current regulatory system of administering fines to gambling companies and ensuring the money is utilised to address gambling related harm is simply unsatisfactory.
The Gambling Commission will issue fines to bookmakers although a lot of this money will go straight into the Treasury’s coffers, through the Consolidated Fund, and have no direct impact on education, research and treatment of gambling addiction.
Recently, a financial penalty of £230,972 was paid into the Consolidated Fund with only a payment of £15,000 going towards the Commission’s costs. This is concerning and I urge the Chancellor to use the upcoming Budget to set out a package of measures to effectively address gambling related harm.
Added to this, the current mandatory levy of bookmakers to fund education, research and treatment brings in a fraction of what is required. We need a statutory levy to ensure the support is there for individuals and families affected by gambling.
The SNP will continue to tackle problem gambling, pushing the UK government to treat it as a public health matter and tackle it with a joined-up strategy.