UK Government Proposes 1% Levy on iGaming Operators to Fund Gambling Harm Research

The UK government is considering a proposal to impose a mandatory 1% levy on iGaming operators’ revenues in order to fund gambling harm research. This initiative, which appears in the updated gambling white paper, aims to address concerns surrounding problem gambling and ensure that operators take more responsibility for mitigating these issues. If implemented, the levy could generate £100 million and the funds collected would be directed to the National Health Service (NHS) to support research and initiatives promoting responsible gambling. However, this proposed increase has sparked debates within the industry, with some expressing concerns about its potential impact on innovation and growth. Nevertheless, the discussions between the government and industry players are ongoing, and the final decision will depend on these deliberations. If the levy is approved, it could potentially bring about transformative changes in the UK gambling landscape towards a more sustainable and responsible environment.

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1% Levy on iGaming Operators


In response to concerns over problem gambling, the UK government is proposing a mandatory 1% levy on iGaming operators’ revenues. This recommendation was included in the updated gambling white paper and is currently being discussed between government officials and industry stakeholders.

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If implemented, the 1% levy, based on 2022 revenues, could generate £100 million (US$121.78 million). The funds collected from this levy would be directed to the National Health Service (NHS) to support research and initiatives aimed at responsible gambling.

Discussion with Stakeholders

The government is engaging in discussions with industry stakeholders about the proposed levy. These discussions are crucial for understanding the potential impact of the levy on iGaming operators and addressing their concerns.

Funding Gambling Harm Research

Amount Generated from Levy

Based on 2022 revenues, the proposed 1% levy on iGaming operators’ revenues could generate £100 million. This significant amount of funding is expected to contribute substantially to gambling harm research and prevention initiatives.

Allocation to National Health Service

The funds collected from the mandatory levy would be allocated to the National Health Service (NHS). This allocation would ensure that the resources are used to support responsible gambling and address the negative consequences of gambling addiction.

Supporting Responsible Gambling Initiatives

The purpose of the levy is to provide financial support for research and initiatives aimed at promoting responsible gambling practices. By funding these programs, the government aims to mitigate the social consequences of gambling addiction and ensure a safer gambling environment.

Comparison to Voluntary Contribution

Previous Contribution Rate

Previously, iGaming operators made a voluntary contribution of approximately 0.1% towards responsible gambling programs. However, the proposed 1% levy represents a substantial increase in their financial obligation.

Increase in Levy Rate

The government’s decision to make the levy mandatory reflects a commitment to addressing the social consequences of gambling addiction. The increase in the levy rate demonstrates the government’s intention to hold operators accountable and ensure they play a more substantial role in mitigating gambling harm.

Reasoning for Discrepancy

Land-based gambling operators will also contribute to funding responsible gambling programs but at a lower rate of 0.4%. This discrepancy is justified by the higher fixed costs associated with traditional brick-and-mortar establishments. The government believes that the financial burden should be distributed based on the different operational challenges faced by online and land-based operators.

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UK Government Proposes 1% Levy on iGaming Operators to Fund Gambling Harm Research

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Exclusion of National Lottery

Mandatory Levy Does Not Apply

The proposed mandatory levy on iGaming operators does not apply to the National Lottery. This exclusion may be due to the unique nature of the National Lottery and its existing regulations and funding mechanisms.

Previous Contributions and Funding

Voluntary Contributions to Responsible Gambling Programs

Gaming operators, both land-based and online, have voluntarily contributed significant sums of money to responsible gambling programs. Since 2020, over £110 million (US$133.95 million) has been provided by these operators to support initiatives aimed at mitigating gambling harm.

Issues with NHS Acceptance

Not all of the voluntary contributions made by gaming operators have been accepted by the NHS. The primary health organization in the UK has refused to accept these contributions, which has limited the impact of the funds on responsible gambling research and prevention efforts.

Fines and Settlements Collected by UK Gambling Commission

In addition to voluntary contributions, the UK Gambling Commission has collected hundreds of millions of dollars through fines and settlements. A portion of these funds is allocated to addressing gambling harm and addiction. This additional source of funding further emphasizes the government’s commitment to addressing the negative consequences of gambling.

Debates and Concerns

iGaming Operators’ Concerns

The proposed increase in the levy has sparked concerns among iGaming operators. Some operators worry that the increased financial burden may hinder innovation and growth in the sector. These concerns highlight the need for balanced discussions and careful consideration of the potential impact of the levy.

Possible Impact on Innovation and Growth

While iGaming operators are concerned about the potential impact of the levy on innovation and growth, it is crucial to balance these concerns with the need for responsible gambling practices. The government’s decision to propose this levy reflects a commitment to finding a sustainable solution that addresses problem gambling without stifling industry growth.

Acknowledgment of Commitment to Responsible Gambling

Despite concerns, many stakeholders within the industry acknowledge the need for a more substantial commitment to responsible gambling practices. The proposed levy is seen as a step in the right direction, demonstrating the industry’s recognition of the importance of addressing gambling harm and addiction.

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Critical Perspectives and Research

Study Suggesting Possible Problems with Levy

A study published in the British Medical Journal highlighted concerns about the proposed mandatory levy. The study suggested that there is a lack of responsible gambling research, which could pose challenges in creating effective policies. These findings reinforce the need for comprehensive research and evidence-based decision-making in implementing the levy.

Lack of Responsible Gambling Research

The lack of responsible gambling research is a critical challenge that needs to be addressed when implementing the levy. Robust research is necessary to understand the causes and consequences of problem gambling fully. This research will guide the development of effective prevention and treatment strategies.

UKGC’s Perspective

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) acknowledges the need for responsible gambling research and prevention efforts. The commission recognizes that additional research and resources are required to tackle the complex issue of gambling harm effectively. The UKGC’s perspective aligns with the government’s aim to use the funds generated from the levy to support responsible gambling initiatives.

Business Model and Marketing Strategies

Potential Adjustments to Offset Financial Burden

If the 1% levy on iGaming operators’ revenues is implemented, operators may need to reassess their business models and marketing strategies. Adjustments may be necessary to offset the increased financial burden. This could lead to changes in pricing, advertising strategies, and operational practices within the iGaming industry.

Ongoing Discussions and Final Decision

Current Status of Discussions

Discussions between the government and industry stakeholders regarding the proposed levy are ongoing. These discussions are crucial for understanding the potential impact of the levy and finding an effective and balanced solution that addresses concerns from all parties involved.

Dependence on Debate Outcomes

The final decision on the proposed levy will depend on the outcomes of the ongoing debates and discussions. It is essential to consider all perspectives and reach a consensus that ensures the sustainability and effectiveness of the levy in addressing gambling harm.

Implications for the UK Gambling Landscape

Industry Accountability and Societal Shift

The proposed levy reflects a broader societal shift towards holding the gaming industry accountable for the societal implications of gambling. By introducing this mandatory levy, the UK government is emphasizing the industry’s responsibility to mitigate gambling harm and contribute to responsible gambling initiatives.

Transformative Changes for Sustainability and Responsibility

The implementation of the proposed levy has the potential to bring transformative changes to the UK gambling landscape. By providing substantial funding for research and prevention efforts, the levy can contribute to creating a more sustainable and responsible gambling environment in the country.

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