UK operators may face a mandatory levy unless they step up their contributions to the treatment of gambling addicts, the country’s culture minister has said.

The industry must hit a £10m target for donations by April, says Mims Davies. This had been agreed with GambleAware, the gambling charity.

“We want the voluntary system to work but if it does not, I do not rule out other ways of funding support and that could include a mandatory levy,” said Davies.

Her remarks came during a Houses of Parliament debate during a speech by Member of Parliament Richard Graham, who called for a ban on gambling advertisements during live television sport and a compulsory levy to raise £100m, or one per cent of the industry’s profits. This would pay for research into addiction and treatment.

He said that the UK had 430,000 adult problem gamblers and that there are 55,000 children aged between 11 and 14 with “addiction”.