GambleAware Says Operators’ Raised Contributions Below Optimum Level

The UK’s selfunded problem gambling charity, GambleAware this week claimed operators have raised their contributions, but still well below the optimum level.

GambleAware revealed that the total amount of money committed and earned in the six months ended September 30 by UK-licensed gambling operators was £ 5.4 million. The figure was slightly ahead of where it was at this point last year, which for the 12 months ending March 31 ended up totalling £ 9.6 m.

The goal of GambleAware is to commit a minimum of 0.1 percent of their annual gross gaming profits to all UK gambling operators, a target that the sector has never met. Nevertheless, the increasingly hostile environment of the United Kingdom towards the gaming industry seems to have an effect on the ability of the operators to dig deep and give until it hurts.

GVC Holdings led the way with £ 1.46 m, the same amount that GVC actually contributed in the previous fiscal year, in terms of contributions promised and collected by GambleAware in its fiscal H1. Similarly, William Hill’s bookies promised £ 1 m, the same as last year.

Online gambling company Bet365 actually donated £ 868k, the same sum that was donated last year. Up to now, Rank Group has contributed £ 284,500 through its Grosvenor Casinos and Mecca Bingo brands. Also notable donors were Betway (£ 160k) and BetVictor (£ 153,500).

Flutter Entertainment, which was donated £ 445k last year under its previous identity by Paddy Power Betfair, was a no-show on the H1 list, as were other major contributors of last year, but the fiscal year is still young.

The amount of £ 5.4 m does not include the £ 1.29 m GambleAware raised by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) for various regulatory violations through its share of regulatory penalties levied on two operators –LeoVegas (£ 600k) and GameSys (£ 690k). Only LeoVegas appears on the official donor list of GambleAware of the two operators (with around £ 70k donated so far).

GambleAware requires operators with an annual income of less than £ 250k to contribute at least £ 250 but the H1 list includes several donations well below that limit, probably intended to allow individuals to donate a fig leaf of involvement. That said, none of these rates are as small as the truly token £ 1 contributions made in the 2018-19 study by some operators and individuals.

Through GambleAware’s 2018-19 survey, InTouch Games, which signed a £ 2.2 m agreement with UKGC in May over poor anti-money laundering procedures, contributed at least £ 250. The H1 study by GambleAware reveals that this time around InTouch is investing a total of £ 14,100.