BGC Defends Claims it’s Withholding Funds to GambleAware

The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has denied claims by The Guardian newspaper that its members, including Bet365, Flutter Entertainment, GVC Holdings, and William Hill, wanted to redirect a quarter of donated funds to GambleAware to projects of their choosing. GambleAware is the leading commissioning charity for research, education, and treatment (RET) projects in the UK gambling industry.

Commitment to Funding

The BGC’s members have promised to provide GambleAware £110m in research, education, and treatment funding by the end of March 2024. In response to the allegations, the BGC stated on Twitter that its members have “absolutely no say” on how funding is spent by charities and that they are “100% committed” to the promised funding to GambleAware.The Guardian’s report also raised concerns about the independence of GambleAware in distributing the £100m “funding commitment” guaranteed by the “Big-4” operators by 2024. Gambling reformist Sir Iain Duncan Smith, Vice Chair of the Gambling Harm APPG, called the industry’s participation in RET funding “a racket that simply has to end.”

Transparency

In response, the BGC defended its members and stated that funding had been distributed to organizations such as GamCare and YGAM. The BGC also noted that GambleAware maintains transparency by publishing a list of its donors.There has been pressure on the government to intervene in RET affairs, with calls for a 1% mandatory GGY levy on operators to fund an independent body to replace GambleAware as commissioner of grants. The measure is supported by GambleAware CEO Zoë Osmond, who stated that it would provide a “sustainable funding model to support future projects and programs.”The UK government has promised to publish the Gambling Review’s White Paper in February 2023. It remains to be seen whether the government will determine RET structures, a subject that has divided expert opinion and may require further regulatory evaluation beyond the White Paper.

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