UKGC Allocates £9m to GambleAware for Gambling Harm Support

  • Emergency fund secured from regulatory settlement payments made by operators
  • GambleAware and its partners will use the funds to provide treatment services
  • The UKGC has advised players on smart gaming practices amid the COVID-19 lockdown
piggy bank wearing protective face mask
The UKGC has transferred £9m in regulatory settlements to GambleAware to support its partner network amid the coronavirus pandemic. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Funded by regulatory settlements

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) is using £9m ($11,177,296.56) paid by gambling operators in regulatory settlements to help provide gambling harm support during the COVID-19 crisis.

The money will be transferred to GambleAware, a charity that provides help to players who are dealing with gambling-related issues in the United Kingdom.

using £9m ($11,177,296.56) paid by gambling operators in regulatory settlements

GambleAware and its partners will use the funds to ensure treatment and support services continue during the pandemic. Any increase in demand for support services will be covered due to the boost in funding.

The funding was announced by the UKGC via Twitter:

Additional gambling harm support

The UKGC recently completed research involving gambling participation since the lockdown in the UK began. With land-based casinos closed and sporting events non-existent, players are looking to online gambling as a form of entertainment. Research evidence suggests that many players have turned to slots, poker, virtual sports, and casino gaming.

With the funding provided by the UKGC, groups like GambleAware will have the means to provide alternative forms of service at this time, such as online options.

many players have turned to slots, poker, virtual sports, and casino gaming

William Moyes, chairman of the UKGC, commented on the funding provided, stating it is vital that organizations like GambleAware can continue their work. He said: “In the current climate, and with the potential risks to British consumers in mind, we have fast-tracked this settlement-driven funding to GambleAware.”

According to GambleAware CEO Marc Etches, the money will allow the group to provide greater security in funding the National Gambling Treatment Service. It will also help to keep people safe from gambling harm.

The UKGC has been busy taking action against operators this year. As much as £27m ($33.6m) has been paid in penalties so far. Fines are issued when the UKGC rules that operators have breached anti-money laundering, VIP practices, and social responsibility rules. The funds generated by the UKGC from the settlements have allowed for additional gambling harm support.

Consumer advice during the lockdown

The UKGC has been busy over the past few weeks, trying to help players during the COVID-19 lockdown. As the UK entered its sixth week in lockdown, the UKGC issued advice to players on how to stay safe and still enjoy online gambling while remaining at home.

The UKGC advised players to set gaming limits. It also highlighted the option to self-exclude if needed. The public has been encouraged to ensure that operators are licensed and remain compliant with the requirements of the UKGC before registering and playing.