BOOKMAKERS could be made to pay a new levy to help fund treatment for millions of gambling addicts, Labour announced yesterday.
Shadow culture secretary Tom Watson and shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth will lead a review into gambling addiction in Britain and the NHS’s ability to provide support for those affected.
At Labour’s conference in Brighton, Mr Watson said gambling firms were irresponsible for not blocking online accounts belonging to addicts.
The number of problem gamblers has risen by a third in three years and two million people are either hooked or at risk of addiction, he added.
Mr Watson continued: “Gambling companies are even harvesting data to deliberately target low-income gamblers and people who have given up gambling.
“Can you imagine the uproar that would ensue if drinks manufacturers targeted members of Alcoholics Anonymous by selling vodka outside AA meetings.”
GambleAware said it had asked the industry to donate 0.1 per cent of gross gaming yield to fund addiction awareness and treatment services.
But Labour said companies contributed just £7.6 million rather than the £13.8m they could have paid.