Gambling industry faces statutory levy

The gambling industry has less than a month to find a voluntary system to fund the Responsibility in Gambling Trust, or it will be forced to pay a statutory levy. The Government will proceed with steps towards legislation in mid-November.

A Gambling Commission consultation recommends that the Department of Culture, Media and Sport should prepare the ground for secondary legislation, which will impose a levy from April 2009. Unless the industry comes up with an eleventh-hour solution, and one that is acceptable to the Gambling Commission and the DCMS, steps will be taken to enact legislation.

Attempts by the gambling industry to come up with a voluntary contribution scheme to fund the RIGT, which offers help to problem gamblers, have so far failed.

In April, the major high street bookmakers stepped into to cover a funding shortfall for the RIGT for the period that was set to end on March 31. The move came after smaller operators failed to make voluntary contributions (MW 25 April).

In May, Culture minister Andy Burnham warned gambling operators that a levy was likely if they did not find a solution. Burnham’s threat came after it emerged that the RIGT had received donations from less than a third of its possible contributors (MW 1 May).

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