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UK Gambling industry levy welcomed by think-tank that first proposed the policy

The Social Market Foundation has welcomed Government’s Gambling White Paper, which features SMF proposals for implementing the statutory levy on the gambling industry.

The SMF has been championing reform to gambling laws and regulations, including: affordability checks like a “soft” threshold per month set on net deposits to help financially vulnerable households, and a statutory levy to fund the research, education and treatment of gambling harm. (See notes for full list of SMF work)

Responding to today’s Government announcement of the White Paper, Dr James Noyes, SMF Senior Fellow, said:

The Social Market Foundation welcomes the Government’s publication of the Gambling White Paper. This is a much-needed and long-overdue review of Britain’s gambling laws, and we are pleased to see that some important measures are being introduced, including options to limit stakes for products that are linked to an elevated risk of harm such as online slots, plans to update design rules for online products such as speed of play, and checks to understand if a customer’s gambling is unaffordable. Many of these measures mirror recommendations that we have made in our research and reports since the launch of the Review in 2020.

We are particularly pleased to see that the Government will introduce a statutory levy paid by operators to achieve long-term funding certainty for research, education and the treatment of gambling related harm.

It is true that the final decisions and details for many of the proposals in the White Paper risk being delayed further by being put out to consultation. We also note the lack of meaningful reform of advertising and clarity about an ombudsman. Until these consultations are conducted and conclude in a manner that is free of industry influence, campaigners for reform have reason to remain cautious. However, we recognise that this White Paper is an important step on the path to reducing harm, tightening regulation and creating greater fairness in the market.


  1. The SMF reports on gambling regulation are published be published at www.smf.co.uk. In order from latest to oldest, they are as follows:
    1. The Nanny and the Night Watchman (2023), a personal essay written by Dr James Noyes
    2. The Case for a Statutory Gambling Levy (2022), a paper authored by Dr James Noyes (Senior SMF Fellow), Professor Henrietta Bowden-Jones OBE (Director of the National Problem Gambling Clinic) and Dr Matthew Gaskell (Clinical Lead of the NHS Northern Gambling Service)
    3. Double or nothing? Assessing the economic impact of gambling (2021), a report explores the economic footprint of the entire gambling industry and its sub-sectors
    4. Gambling review and reform: towards a new regulatory framework (2020), a series of policy recommendations ahead of the Government’s anticipated review of the 2005 Gambling Act, and its accompanying blog, authored by SMF Senior Researcher Jake Shepherd.