Vicky Knight, who serves as Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) member Jenningsbet’s Head of Safer Gambling, has laid out the issues that could result from the Government’s proposed mandatory levy should the concerns of independent sportsbooks not be heard. Knight warned that independent bookies like Jenningsbet could be forced to reduce the number of their retail locations and let go employees as the new levy on Gross Gambling Yield (GGY) will be “disproportionately high” for such businesses.
The levy is among the various proposed changes in the Government’s Gambling White Paper, and according to the proposal, land-based casino and betting establishments will be required to pay a levy of 0.4% on their GGY. It will specifically impact businesses with gross profits of more than £500,000, and the money will be distributed toward research, prevention, and treatment of gambling harm.
Knight underscored how independent businesses wish to continue funding organisations across the UK with money that can assist them in providing services to help those suffering from problem gambling. She also pointed out that, currently, only 0.4% of England’s adult population comprises problem gamblers and that independent bookies like Jenningsbet have taken pride in their role in helping reduce gambling harm. In spite of this, she also stressed that sports betting establishments will not be able to make larger payments and adhere to the 0.4% levy without facing dire consequences.
The Independent Sports Betting Sector ‘s Struggles
Knight said that the number of independent betting shops has reduced by roughly 23% since 2019 and now stands at 536. Moreover, approximately 3,000 people are currently working for the said establishments. The independent gambling sector thus generates £5.5 million in business rates and pays taxes of more than £25 million.
Jenningsbet’s Head of Safer Gambling also drew attention to how, currently, 82 independent sports betting businesses operate within the UK, which contrasts the 145 figure of just several years prior and shows a staggering 43% reduction in total. According to BGC estimations, the levy will affect the vast majority of independent sportsbooks (492) of 38 businesses, most of which will struggle to continue operating unless they take drastic measures and reduce costs by laying off staff and closing certain locations.
Knight did not neglect to point out the Government’s plans to continue charging other high street businesses like adult gaming centres and family entertainment centres, which resemble independent bookies in both operating costs and other financial obligations, just 0.1% in fines, while sportsbooks will be forced to cough up four times that percentage once the White Paper is enforced. Furthermore, the National Lottery, which has an annual GGY of roughly £3.5 billion, had paid around 0.01% on its yearly yield, or £440,000 per year, which strongly contrasts the entire sector’s 2022/23 overall contribution of over £50 million.
Knight deemed the way that independent bookies are targeted unfair and noted that this situation will lead to certain betting locations facing an inability to make a profit. She ended her statement by saying that independent sportsbooks do wish to continue paying their “fair share” but that “Supporting the levy can’t come at the cost of closed shops and sacked staff.”
Daniel Williams has started his writing career as a freelance author at a local paper media. After working there for a couple of years and writing on various topics, he found his interest for the gambling industry.