The independent charity GambleAware has revealed the voluntary donations and support pledges it has received so far in the 2021-22 financial year – and it’s a major UK betting firm that leads the way.
Bet365 has donated nearly half of all the funds in the coffers, with the Stoke-on-Trent operation handing over £4 million as a donation.
Entain, whose brands include Ladbrokes, Coral and Party Casino, delivered £2 million and William Hill were next best at £1 million. It means that just three British firms have donated 70% of the total taking.
The likes of 32Red (£28,000), Marathon (£1,160) and the British Racecourse Bookmakers Association (£1,000) were rather less forthcoming, while the Done brothers – the billionaire owners of Betfred – contributed a rather conservative £450 to the cause.
Camelot, the current licence owner of the UK lottery, has pledged £450,000 but is yet to pay, while Victor Chandler’s outfit BetVictor has pledged £65,000.
The full list of donations and pledges is available via the GambleAware website, and the current total of £10.6 million for the first half of 2021/22 is on course to beat the total haul of £19 million received last year – that in itself was nearly double the £10 million taken during 2019/20.
Is It Mandatory to Donate to GambleAware?
Given that GambleAware is the charity most aligned with improving the welfare and safety of punters, while researching and funding treatments for problem gambling, you would think that firms would go above and beyond the minimum ‘recommended’ donation.
Whilst not mandatory by any means, GambleAware asks that companies in the sector which achieve an annual gross gambling yield of more than £250,000 to donate 0.1% of their taking, while those under that threshold are asked for a minimum one-off donation of £250.
It’s clear from the supporters’ list that many firms have opted to give the minimum amount possible, and that’s a great shame given that the industry is currently being monitored by government officials who have one eye on tougher regulation.
As well as those voluntary donations, GambleAware can benefit from the spoils of ‘regulatory settlements’, which is where the UK Gambling Commission can request that a licenced operator makes a charitable donation as part of their regulatory measures.
This is seen as something of a token effort from the Commission, who in some cases would rather see a donation made to a socially responsible cause than have to crack the whip with punitive measures themself.
For the most part, regulatory settlement payments would go to GambleAware, although here’s a stat that the industry will want to be glazed over – so far in the 2021/22 financial year, the charity is yet to receive a single penny as part of a such a scheme.
What Does GambleAware Do?
It’s sad, but necessary, that charitable institutions like Gamble Aware have to exist.
Their overarching goal is in the prevention of gambling harm, and the treatment of problem gambling where it arises.
To achieve that stated aim, the charity has identified four pillars which it stands by:
- To ensure that gambling harms are understood
- Collaborate to deliver a whole-system approach to prevent gambling harms
- Enable people to access the advice, support and treatment they need
- Build and disseminate evidence-based learning and knowledge
In the delivery of those ambitions, GambleAware is involved in more than 40 different projects, which include the National Gambling Treatment Service, the National Gambling Helpline and the Gambling Education Hub.
And so it is imperative that it is supported financially – like all good charities – and it’s a bit of a disappointment to see so many operators paying the bare minimum as a donation. In the middle of Safety Gambling Week, isn’t it time that betting firms got real about their commitment to improving the industry as a whole, not just their profit and loss account?