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Gambling

Volume 463: debated on Wednesday 12 September 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much funding was provided for problem gambling services in the UK by (a) the Government and (b) the gambling industry in each of the last five years; what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of those services; what plans he has to use his powers under the Gambling Act 2005 to ensure that the Responsibility in Gambling Trust receives additional funding to treat adequately any increase in problem gambling in the UK; and if he will make a statement. (154900)

[holding answer 10 September 2007]: Problem gambling services in Great Britain are mainly funded by the gambling industry, principally through the Responsibility in Gambling Trust (RiGT). The Government do not fund dedicated problem gambling services, but anybody with a gambling problem who seeks help from the NHS will be offered support and, if necessary, treatment. In the past five years, the industry has contributed the following amounts to RiGT:

Amount (£)

2006-07

3,032,689

2005-06

2,274,567

2004-05

2,281,527

2003-04

1,269,852

2002-03

765,659

British-licensed gambling operators are now required by the Gambling Commission to contribute to problem gambling education, prevention and treatment. I have the power under the Gambling Act 2005 to impose a statutory social responsibility levy on the gambling industry and I will not hesitate to use this if the evidence demands it.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assessment he has made of the proposal to include a helpline number on all gambling adverts shown in the UK; whether he plans such a service to be promoted in the future; and if he will make a statement. (154901)

[holding answer 10 September 2007]: I welcome any steps the gambling industry takes to advertise in a socially responsible way. I am pleased that the British gambling industry has adopted a voluntary code for socially responsible advertising which requires the inclusion of a ‘signpost’ to the Responsibility in Gambling Trust’s (RiGT) public awareness website, www.gambleaware.co.uk. It is up to advertisers if they wish also to include an appropriate helpline number for problem gamblers. I understand that RiGT is currently assessing the effectiveness of phone helplines in raising public awareness of gambling issues and I look forward to seeing the results of their work.