Bishop of St Albans asks Government about funding for gambling-related harm

On 3rd July 2020 the Rt Revd Alan Smith, Bishop of St Albans, received a written answer to a question from Baroness Barran on gambling.

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: HL6028 To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the statement by Lord Ashton of Hyde on 2 July 2019 (HL Deb, cols 1344–6), and in the light of the pledge made by the Betting and Gambling Council’s five largest members this week, whether the announcement made in the July 2019 statement is now null and void; and if not, where the money has been distributed; what involvement Her Majesty’s Government had in the announcement by the Betting and Gambling Council; and why is the money no longer being distributed by the committee launched by Lord Chadlington.

Baroness Barran: On 2 July 2019 five major gambling operators committed to raise their contribution to funding for research education and treatment to 1% over a four year period, and as part of that to spend a cumulative total of £100m over four years on expanding treatment services. On 15 June 2020 industry body the Betting and Gaming Council set out further detail about the allocation of industry donations for the 2020-21 financial year, and announced that the charity GambleAware would be funded to expand treatment services.

The government has been clear that the gambling industry has a responsibility to protect people from gambling harm and support those who have been affected. It welcomed industry’s commitment to increase contributions and will monitor closely the progress of these new measures. While this a voluntary agreement, Ministers and officials have been clear that funds must be spent independently of industry and focused exclusively on reducing gambling related harm.