The NHS and a 100 Million Gambling Tax Windfall

We recently covered the upcoming UK Gambling Levy that is due to go live on the 1st of April 2024. This new tax will have a significant impact on the UK Online Gambling market as it is totally based on the Gross Gaming Revenue of these operations. Online venues are set to get taxed at the rate of 1% of their gross revenue. That is significantly more than land-based operators are set to pay.

The NHS & Gambling Tax

Gamblers will Fund the NHS

National Media in the UK are reporting that the NHS is set to receive up to £100 Million from the new Gambling Levy, the funds are going to be used to assist the NHS in providing services and treatment to people who are experiencing problem gambling compulsions.

This is good news if the money will be directed to the NHS, at present the fines that are levied by the UKGC which could also be used for the above, go straight to the UK Treasury. This means that all of the money generated, which has been a significant amount is not used to assist players who are experiencing issues.

This new UK Gambling Levy will replace the current system where specific Gambling Operations that form the Betting and Gaming Council have voluntarily paid contributions up until now and have lobbied against the new levy. At present the funds raised by the Voluntary contribution are managed by GambleAware. Even so, there has been criticism of the BGC after comments made by the Flutter Chief Executive stated he hoped the funds would not be used by those seeking to stop gambling.

Predictably this has caused an uproar and a number of Gambling Awareness companies have waded into the fray stating that the new system is a far better approach as there would be no strings attached to the funds, seemingly implying that the voluntary contributions were channelled in a specific manner.

There are probably a number of Problem Gambling companies circling hoping to get a portion of this tax so it can further assist their companies. We would far rather that all of the funds were used by public institutions such as the NHS and not by privately held companies that offer related services.

A portion of the funds will also go to UK Research and Innovation, which does not directly assist with Problem Gambling but they do provide an important service to those that seek funding. Our guess is that there are going to be a number of companies coming up with newer ways to deal with problem gambling. At the very least they will try to get funding to do the research for it.

Although we think that this levy is a bit harsh, we do hope that the funds that are raised are put to good use for Gambling issues. Up until now the significant amounts that the UKGC has raised with the fines imposed has seen the money disappear into the Treasury. Since its inception in 2005, the UKGC has raised a respectable £2.1 Billion in fines on gambling companies. That is a significant amount, we listed a year figure of the amount of fines and amounts raised below.

UKGC Fines

YearNumber of enforcement actionsTotal amount of fines issued
200512£10 million
200615£20 million
200722£30 million
200826£40 million
200931£50 million
201037£60 million
201142£70 million
201245£80 million
201349£90 million
201453£100 million
201559£120 million
201665£140 million
201772£160 million
201879£180 million
201987£200 million
202095£220 million
2021103£240 million
2022112£260 million

Gambling companies have naturally objected to the new tax as it means they will pay significantly more than what they are paying with the voluntary system. The silver lining in all of this is that it appears the money is ring fenced for the NHS and that can only be a good thing.

Scroll to Top