On 5th March 2020 Lord Beecham asked the Government “what steps they will take to support the Gambling Commission to address problem gambling.” The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a follow-up question:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, at a time when the NHS is facing such unbelievable pressures from the coronavirus, it is also having to set up 14 gambling clinics across the country to try to deal with this situation. The industry has a gross gambling yield of £14 billion a year. Is it not time to bring in a statutory levy, so that the polluter pays for the damage being caused?
Baroness Barran: I thank the right reverend Prelate for his suggestion. There are currently no plans to introduce a statutory levy. As he will be aware, the gambling companies make a major contribution of about £3 billion in tax. The concerns around a statutory levy would be the same for gambling as for tobacco or alcohol, which also carry huge health risks, so there are no current plans to proceed with that.