It seems that despite the large sponsorship deals between gambling operators and Premier League football clubs, gambling companies are making considerably smaller contributions to the largest charity organisation which is focused on dealing with problem gambling and the devastating impact it could have on people’s health.
The sponsorship deals with the Premier League are estimated to about £120 million. On the other hand, the amount granted to the largest gambling charity in the UK is about £50 million. The major gambling regulator in the country – the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) – has recommended that gambling operators in the country should donate 0.1% of their annual revenue to GambleAware to fund research, education and treatment of gambling addiction.
The actual donation rates, however, are much smaller. For example, the company which holds the UK operating licenses for Fun88 and SportPesa, which are kit sponsors of the Newcastle and Everton football clubs – TGP Europe Limited – made a donation worth only £100 to GambleAware in 2018, despite the sponsorship deals were estimated to £67.5 million. Midnight Gaming, which currently holds the UK operating license of the Philippines-based bookmaker W88, donated only £250.
According to analysts’ estimates, the overall amount that would be raised by GamleAware in case that every gambling company contributed only 0.1% of their annual revenue, would reach more than £14 million. Back in 2018, the British gambling charity organisation shared that it needed at least £10 million to operate normally, in spite of the fact that much more is needed to meet the demands from people with gambling problems. Unfortunately, it has fallen short of its financial target for a third consecutive year.
About 430,000 Brits Are Problem Gamblers, GambleAware Says
As anti-gambling campaigners have highlighted, the National Health Service (NHS) does not treat problem gambling routinely, as it does with other types of addictions. The major gambling charity in the UK – GambleAware – reported that its national helpline registered almost 30,000 calls in 2018. The charity currently depends on voluntary contributions made by the industry.
According to the organisation, about 430,000 UK residents are dealing with gambling addiction, while another 2 million are at risk of becoming problem gamblers. GamleAware has also revealed that less than 3% of the British gambling addicts actually get the treatment they need. The organisation, however, aims at tripling that percentage by 2021.
The failure of British gambling operators to generate the necessary voluntary contribution in order for the charity to address the spreading gambling addiction rates in the country has led to calls for the levy to be made compulsory. The idea has been supported by the Labour Party which has insisted that a 1% tax on annual gambling revenue should be imposed in order for addiction research, education and treatment programs to be treated. Both the UKGC and GambleAware support making the levy compulsory to local gambling operators but so far, the Government has refused to do anything about that.
For the time being, nine of the 20 teams in the English Premier League have gambling operators as sponsors. According to estimates, eight of these gambling companies paid no less than £117 million in order see themselves as shirt sponsors, while the total amount which they contributed to GambleAware was £7,350. The only exception was made by the sponsor of West Ham – Betway – which donation to GamleAware amounted to £132,800.