Zoë Osmond, the chief executive officer of GambleAware, has expressed her excitement about the statutory levy consultations, but also raised concerns about the proposed approach. The levy, outlined in the Gambling Act white paper, would require all UK operators to contribute a portion of their revenues for gambling harm research and treatment.
Osmond expressed her long-awaited support for the measure, stating that it provides much-needed security for the charity sector, which previously relied on voluntary donations. She emphasized the potential positive impact of the levy in helping more people access gambling harm treatment across Britain.
However, Osmond also raised several points about the proposed approach. She stressed the need for a National Strategy for the Prevention and Treatment of Gambling Harms, as well as the appointment of a single Prevention and Treatment Commissioner to increase awareness and accessibility of gambling harm treatment services.
Furthermore, Osmond criticized the proposed funding allocations, arguing that the focus should be on prevention and early intervention rather than primarily on treatment. She called for a meaningful reprioritization of prevention with additional funding and equal focus on both prevention and treatment.
Osmond also addressed the current definitions of treatment and prevention, suggesting a reevaluation of the categorization of interventions and the inclusion of national public awareness campaigns and digital early interventions within the remit of the Prevention Commissioner.
Finally, Osmond emphasized the need for a smooth transition to the new system to avoid depriving the third sector of funding and disrupting the availability of services.
In conclusion, Osmond voiced her hope that her concerns would be addressed to ensure that the levy reaches its full transformational potential.