The NHS is set to benefit as new levy will raise an estimated £100 million of new funding for research, prevention and treatment of gambling addiction.
Following publication of the gambling white paper in April, the Government is now taking the next step in mandating payments from the sector by launching a consultation on the design of the proposed gambling operator levy.
Currently, not all gambling companies contribute equally towards the existing voluntary levy, with some operators paying as little as £1 towards research, prevention and treatment. The Government is therefore acting to ensure all operators contribute their fair share.
In order to improve research, prevention and treatment of gambling harm, the Government is minded to set the levy as a new 1% fee on gross gambling yield for online gambling operators, while traditional betting shops and casinos will pay a proposed fee of around 0.4%.
The white paper has proposed a fair and proportionate approach to levy rates between various operators, taking into account the difference, for example, in operating costs and the levels of harmful gambling associated with different gambling activities.
Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer said:
We are taking the next step in our plan to protect those most at risk of gambling harm with a new levy on gambling operators to pay for treatment and research.
All gambling operators will be required to pay their fair share and this consultation is an opportunity for the industry, clinicians, those who have experienced gambling harm and the wider public to have their say on how the proposed gambling operator levy should work.
The introduction of this levy will strengthen the safety net and help deliver our long-term plan to help build stronger communities while allowing millions of people to continue to gamble safely.
Technology has reshaped where, when and how people gamble and there has been a significant rise in online gambling behaviour due to the ease of access on smartphones, with people able to gamble anytime and anywhere.
Figures from the NHS Digital Health Survey also indicate that some of these online products are associated with elevated levels of gambling-related addiction and harm with ‘problem gambling’ rates eight times higher for online slots and casino game players than in the population as a whole.
Under the proposed levy, the gambling industry will no longer have a say over how money for research, prevention and treatment is spent. Instead, the Gambling Commission will distribute funding directly to the NHS and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), which coordinates research and innovation funding, under the strategic direction of government. The levy will be underpinned by legislation meaning firms will be required to pay.
The funding delivered through the levy, which will deliver substantial new investment for the NHS in England, Scotland and Wales, will increase access to treatment and support for those experiencing gambling-related harm. It will also help to develop a truly national approach to prevention and fund independent, high-quality research to inform policy and practice.
In July this year, the NHS announced that seven new specialist gambling addiction clinics will open in Milton Keynes, Thurrock, Derby, Bristol, Liverpool, Blackpool and Sheffield this year. This is in addition to the seven clinics already in operation in London, Leeds, Newcastle, Manchester, Southampton, Stoke-on-Trent, and Telford, as well as an additional national clinic, which treats both gambling and gaming addiction in children and young people, in London.
Gambling Minister Stuart Andrew said:
We know that gambling addiction can devastate lives, which is why we are working quickly to implement our bold plans for reform.
This consultation brings us a step closer to being able to provide £100 million of new funding for research, prevention and treatment, including ring fenced investment for the NHS to help gambling addicts.
Gambling firms should always pay their fair share and this new statutory levy will ensure that they are legally required to do just that.
Health Minister Neil O’Brien said:
Harmful gambling can affect people’s savings, ruin relationships, and devastate people’s lives and health.
Gambling companies should pay their fair share towards the costs of treatment services, but we want to hear from as many people as possible about how the new statutory levy should work.
We continue working to support those affected by gambling harms. Twelve of the planned fifteen NHS gambling addictions clinics have now opened across the country providing vital support services for thousands of people experiencing gambling-related harms as well as their loved ones. The remaining three are expected to open by the end of the year.”
Henrietta Bowden-Jones, National Clinical Advisor for Gambling Harms, said:
I welcome this Levy which reflects the government’s decision to fund gambling treatment, prevention, research and education in an independent and evidence- based way allowing us to continue our work of eradicating all gambling harms from society.”
NHS mental health director Claire Murdoch said:
Gambling addiction destroys people’s lives and with record numbers turning to the NHS for support, the health service has met this demand head on by opening four new specialist clinics in recent months, with a further three opening later this year.
The NHS has long called for a statutory levy because it is only right that this billion-pound industry steps up to support people suffering from gambling addiction and I am pleased that action is being taken to prevent people from coming to harm in the first place. It is now vital we continue working in partnership to ensure we provide effective prevention, education and treatment for this condition.
The Government’s gambling white paper, published in April 2023, set out a range of measures to improve player protections and reduce the risk of gambling addiction and harm in the smartphone era. Measures such as financial risk checks to better alert operators to risky behaviours, stake limits for online slots, tighter controls on marketing of bonuses and a new mandatory gambling operator levy are designed to reduce risk and improve player protections.
The Government and Gambling Commission continue to implement the measures set out in the white paper with a view to having key elements in place in summer 2024.
ClearStake awarded ISO 27001 certification cementing its position as a trusted financial risk check provider
Real-time risk profiling tool provider ClearStake has been awarded ISO 27001 certification, the globally recognised standard for data protection and system security, cementing its position as a trusted provider to the gambling industry.
To qualify for the ISO 27001, ClearStake was required to actively demonstrate the successful deployment and adherence to a robust Information Security Management System (ISMS), as part of a rigorous two-stage accreditation process with an independent auditor.
A key endorsement when expanding across global markets, the certification proves ClearStake’s team is fully compliant with international data protection and security standards, which were most recently updated by the International Organization for Standardization and the International Electrotechnical Commission in 2022.
Martin Burt, CEO at ClearStake, said: “At the heart of what we do at ClearStake is building a secure environment for operators to handle and process data. As such, we are delighted to receive the ISO 27001 certification, which reaffirms our position as a reliable and compliant technology provider.
“This is a vital step in our growth as a company and will give clients further assurance that we operate to the highest standards.”
ProgressPlay brings forward the future of casino management with revolutionary AI
Once again, casino and sports platform provider ProgressPlay are ahead of their time with a new wave of technology innovation that has helped the company to attend major shows during 2023 with soaring confidence based on pioneering proprietary technological advances that have featured strongly in annual awards shows.
The company’s future-centred thinking and ambitious AI product development attracted a raft of operators and partners attending last week’s SiGMA Europe in Malta. A raft of casino operators during the show had the opportunity to see firsthand ProgressPlay’s new tech which offers a comprehensive gaming management solution across multiple channels and products.
ProgressPlay’s enhanced iGaming platform provides operators with a powerful real-time AI-driven proprietary flow tool for optimising the performance of an online casino in a dynamic data ecosystem. Real-time player interaction provides compliance teams with the information to manage and interact with players.
Last year, ProgressPlay undertook an ambitious reframe of their technology with new proprietary Responsible Gambling automation and tools at its heart. ProgressPlay’s new platform manages player accounts, payments, bonuses, loyalty programs, fraud prevention and games, using robust tools and analytics.
ProgressPlay Sales Manager Marina Nahhas said: “ProgressPlay’s innovative Responsible Gambling software covers topics like KYC, player activity, affordability levels, and a transparent audit trail. These topics resonate heavily with operators and we were delighted with the level of engagement around this revenue-critical activity during the week we spent in Malta.”
ProgressPlay’s combo sportsbook and comprehensive turnkey solution, including casino platform, player management, payments module, and affiliate software are designed to boost operators seeking to effectively drive both revenue and efficiency with the latest cutting-edge technology.
Over 150 online casino brands have partnered with ProgressPlay covering a unique combination of casino games and sports-betting. ProgressPlay’s sportsbook offers up to 40,000 live betting markets and services across 20 languages while the latest platform offers a slick AI-driven UI/UX, and extensive value-added services alongside thousands of casino games, including slots, online casino, live casino, poker, table games, and sportsbook, across all devices and currencies.
ProgressPlay CEO Itai Loewenstein said: “Commercial agreements are being driven by our breakthrough technology that enables deployment of our AI tools for greater efficiency and revenue-generation. SiGMA Europe has been the last stop in a busy year and we believe that since we first launched our new technology in London at the beginning of the year our sophisticated Responsible Gambling tool has quickly moved beyond the early-adopter stage.”
Yggdrasil fires up festive fun with Rock Star Santa MultiMax™
Leading iGaming publisher Yggdrasil has dialled up the Christmas cheer with a hellraising new hit, Rock Star Santa MultiMax™.
A 6×6 grid awaits players, with the cluster pays mechanic requiring five or more matching symbols to be conjoined for a winning spin. Every wining cluster is then removed from the reels, with more icons cascading down from above, and a wild also joins the party.
The multiplier at the top of the reelset will then increase, with the popular MultiMax Game Engagement Mechanic (GEM) swiftly seeing cascades cranked up in volume into massive wins. These can also combine if the cluster straddles reels, for supersonic rewards.
In addition, the Present symbol can land on any spin, awarding up to 100x, 11 free spins, or four extra wilds. This can also include an extra spin or an increased multiplier if it falls during the free spins.
Three or more Golden Ticket Free Spins icons will trigger the bonus round, giving players at least seven spins. During this, the multiplier at the top of each reel does not reset, allowing it to quickly pile up with every winning combination. Free Spins may also be gambled for the chance to win more.
The game also features two separate Buy Bonus options, depending on the jurisdiction, and a Golden Bet option, which increases the chances of a player hitting the bonus for an increased stake.
Rock Star Santa MultiMax is the latest core game developed by Yggdrasil, following recent vibrant releases Defenders of Mystica and Wild Stack Frenzy.
Mark McGinley, Chief Gaming Officer at Yggdrasil, said: “We’ve taken a different approach when it comes to festive hits and introduced the world to our showstopping Santa in our rocking new release, Rock Star Santa MultiMax.
“Incorporating a cluster-pays mechanic is an exciting addition to our portfolio, where we strive to deliver incredible experiences for our players.”
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