NHS Urges UK to Implement New Gambling Tax to Fight Addiction

By Ralph Trayfalgar, Updated:

Several NHS physicians have urged for the introduction of a new required fee on the gambling industry in the United Kingdom to assist support prevention and treatment programs for those suffering from gambling addiction.

Dr. Matt Gaskell, the Clinical Lead for the NHS Northern Gambling Service, and Professor Henrietta Bowden-Jones, the Director of the National Problem Gambling Clinic, have been at the forefront of the campaign to establish an independent health board to oversee the gambling levy, which has garnered widespread support.

In a report for the think tank Social Market Foundation (SMF), the new board should be chaired by the Department of Health and Social Care rather than the Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport (DCMS).

According to the report, the Joint Advisory Charge Board should conduct an evaluation of the link between particular online casino games and gambling damage, and then levy the products in accordance with the findings.

It also recommends that the board speak with academics, research councils, the Gambling Commission, physicians, and stakeholders from the Department for Education and the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

At the moment, UK online casinos are required to make yearly donations to organizations designated by the Commission, as well as contributions to the study, prevention, and treatment of gambling addiction. The authors of the report argue that the new fee should be used to replace the present voluntary fundraising mechanism, which they believe is "unfit for purpose."

“The current voluntary system has no integration of NHS services, no consistency in funding decisions, no independent evaluation of long-term impact or regulation via the Care Quality Commission, no coordinated oversight from research councils over research into harm, and serious questions have been asked about the independence of this voluntary system from the influence of the gambling industry,” the SMF report reads.

“Furthermore, decisions about the funding of healthcare services are not overseen by experts at the Department of Health and Social Care, as would be expected, but rather officials at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.”

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