UK mulls 1% gambling levy to fund research and treatment of addiction


LONDON, Oct 17 (Reuters) - The British government said on Tuesday it was considering a new levy on online gambling companies of up to 1% in a move it predicts would raise 100 million pounds per year to fund research, prevention and treatment of gambling addiction.

While a voluntary levy already exists, the government's Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) said in a statement on Tuesday that some operators were paying as little as 1 pound towards research, prevention and treatment.

"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%," DCMS said.

The government in April set out plans to tackle problem gambling and bring regulations up to date after a rise in betting via smartphones on apps and other online platforms where wagers are just a click away.

The government, whose proposals had included new online stake limits of between 2 pounds and 15 pounds, said on Tuesday it was launching a consultation on the design of the proposed gambling operator levy.

The funding from the new levy would deliver new investment for the state-run National Health Service (NHS) in England, Scotland and Wales, the statement added.

The government said charity GambleAware received 34.7 million pounds from industry via the voluntary levy in 2021/22, with some other contributions going to other bodies.

Britain is home to some of the world's largest betting companies including Entain ENT.L, the owner of Ladbrokes and Coral brands, and Flutter FLTRF.L, which operates FanDuel and Paddy Power, among others.

"Gambling firms should always pay their fair share and this new statutory levy will ensure that they are legally required to do just that," the government's gambling minister Stuart Andrew said.

(Reporting by Muvija M; Editing by Alistair Smout and Hugh Lawson)

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