|A politician in Scotland has called for a mandatory levy on gambling firms operating in the nation with a view to more adequately funding programmes for addicts.|
Scottish National Party member Kenneth Gibson is calling on Westminster to give the Scottish Parliament the power to make the levy compulsory. He stated that there is provision within the UK Gambling Act, which came into effect in September, for gambling companies to voluntarily pay into a fund to help combat gambling addictions but that not all operators are contributing.
'A mandatory levy on all gambling firms operating in Scotland must be established,' said Gibson.
'It is simply not acceptable for gambling firms to make a fortune in profits from the Scottish people while largely ignoring their social responsibility to help educate people of the dangers of gambling and contribute to the treatment of gambling addicts.'
Senior industry executives have voiced similar warnings and in urging fellow operators to meet their social obligations voluntarily or face compulsory taxation. Companies in the UK gave only half of the expected eight million dollars last year even though the amounts spent on gambling doubled compared with 2001 when the betting tax was removed.
'The advent of the National Lottery had a lot to do with de-stigmatising gambling,' Said Leighton Vaughn Williams, a researcher for the Betting Research Unit at Nottingham Business School.
“Cable television with more sport screened so people can bet while a match or race is on also led to an increase in betting.
'You do have some people who have problems with gambling but you don't solve the problem by shutting your eyes to it. You solve it by regulating the industry.'