The NHS will become the main commissioner of gambling treatment as a result of a new gambling levy, the Government has announced.
Government said it will be mandating payments from the sector, providing £100m per year to fund gambling treatment, prevention and research.
Not all gambling companies currently contribute equally towards the existing voluntary levy and the Government is minded to set the levy as a new 1% fee on gross gambling yield for online gambling operators, while traditional betting shops and casinos will pay a proposed fee of around 0.4%.
The Gambling Commission will distribute funding directly to the NHS and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).
The funding delivered through the levy will increase access to treatment and support for those experiencing gambling-related harm, the Government said.
It launched a consultation to gather views from the industry, clinicians, academics and those who have experience of harmful gambling.
Primary care minister Neil O’Brien said: ‘Harmful gambling can affect people’s savings, ruin relationships, and devastate people’s lives and health.
‘Gambling companies should pay their fair share towards the costs of treatment services, but we want to hear from as many people as possible about how the new statutory levy should work.
‘We continue working to support those affected by gambling harms. Twelve of the planned fifteen NHS gambling addictions clinics have now opened across the country providing vital support services for thousands of people experiencing gambling-related harms as well as their loved ones.
‘The remaining three are expected to open by the end of the year.’
NHS mental health director Claire Murdoch said: ‘Gambling addiction destroys people’s lives and with record numbers turning to the NHS for support, the health service has met this demand head on by opening four new specialist clinics in recent months, with a further three opening later this year.
‘The NHS has long called for a statutory levy because it is only right that this billion-pound industry steps up to support people suffering from gambling addiction and I am pleased that action is being taken to prevent people from coming to harm in the first place.
‘It is now vital we continue working in partnership to ensure we provide effective prevention, education and treatment for this condition.’
At the beginning of the month, NICE recommended in draft guidance that GPs should ask people about gambling during consultations, in the same way they ask about smoking or alcohol use.
The guidance also noted that cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) should be a treatment option as research shows it can be effective.
The Public Health England gambling-related harms evidence review estimated that around 300,000 adults experience ‘problem gambling’.