Deal Me Out letter calls for ‘collaborative’ levy approach

Home » Deal Me Out letter calls for ‘collaborative’ levy approach

A Welsh gambling harms awareness organisation has called on the UK government to foster a “collaborative future” of RET funding as the statutory levy comes into view.

Jordan Lea, founder and chief executive of Deal Me Out, said the third sector could “cease to exist” within six months of a mandatory levy if “incessant politicking from all sides of the debate” does not stop.

The government and Gambling Commission will this month publish their response to the consultation on a levy for the industry to support research, education and prevention of gambling harms.

The levy has proved one of the most polarising issues of the UK’s white paper on gambling reform amid government plans for the NHS to be the main commissioner of RET funding.

Charities and other third sector organisations have subsequently voiced concerns about how their work in the community – and the people who use their services – would be affected.

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“We need collaboration by all sides, not childish in-fighting over who controls the money,” Lea said in a letter to the Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer, gambling minister Stuart Andrew and shadow gambling minister Stephanie Peacock.

“I’m calling for the government to insist on this collaboration and bring all sides together within the DCMS an commit to a future where the service user is put first.”

Gambling minister Andrew said in December it is “absolutely crucial” to ensure there is “no disruption” to the current system of RET funding for charities working in the gaming industry.

“The rhetoric around industry funding causing un-independence is fictitious and damaging to the future of harm prevention,” Lea said.

“The people of Great Britain need a collaborative approach, one that is denied by the NHS gambling service, and the charity sector in equal measure.”

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In his letter, Lea points criticism at Will Prochaska, who formerly chaired Gambling With Lives and is now an independent advisor on reform of harmful commodity industries and leader of the Coalition Against Gambling Ads.

Lea said Prochaska’s claim in a summer 2023 oral evidence session that he sees “no role for GambleAware in a new system” is a “significant cause for concern.”

“I am not here to lobby against a mandatory levy, that would be banging my head against a brick wall, however I am calling for the government, and shadow government stop the incessant politicking from all sides of the debate,” Lea said.

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