GVC Holdings PLC (LON:GVC), the global sports-betting and gaming group, welcomes the publication of today’s report of the House of Lords Gambling Industry Committee into the social and economic dimensions of gambling.
Coinciding with the Committee’s report, GVC has also today released the findings of a new national poll, which provides evidence of the broad support gambling enjoys as a legitimate leisure activity amongst the British public. The survey of 2,000 Britons, conducted in May 2020, finds that nearly 80% of regular gamblers see betting as part of the leisure industry and a clear two-thirds of respondents support an individual’s freedom of choice to gamble (see infographic here: http://www.rns-pdf.londonstockexchange.com/rns/7814R_1-2020-7-1.pdf).
A number of principles within the report are already reflected in GVC’s safer gambling strategy – Changing for the Bettor – which we have put at the heart of our business. These include:
· A reduction in the amount of gambling advertising
o As of July 2019 GVC removed all in-ground and perimeter advertising from UK football venues
o Last year we also ended all shirt sponsorships and donated a full season of sponsorship rights to charity
o We led the industry in agreeing a pre-watershed, whistle-to-whistle ban on gambling adverts on television, around live sports
· Enhanced funding for research into problem gambling
o GVC has entered a five-year, multi-million pound partnership with Harvard Medical School’s Division on Addiction to research the issues around problem gambling and develop better treatment
o We led the way in increasing our voluntary contributions to fund research, education and treatment by ten-fold – from 0.1% to 1% of GGY. The other big four operators have since followed our lead
· Ensuring children and vulnerable people are protected
o We support the call for a minimum age of 18 on all gambling products
o We are rolling out national youth education programmes with the charity GamCare as well as a state-school awareness campaign
Also key to GVC’s approach is using data-driven technology, such as market-leading algorithms, to monitor betting behaviour, enabling our responsible gambling teams to intervene and prevent problems from developing.
GVC is aware that many of these measures are not known to members of the general public who do not bet. That leads to a knee-jerk support in favour of more government regulation on every issue. We intend to communicate GVC’s leading role in providing our customers with the most sophisticated tools to manage their gambling, while intervening when we see signs of problem gambling developing.
A POPULAR PASTIME
1. 7 in 10 people participate in some form of gambling (69%)
2. 77% of regular gamblers see betting as a leisure industry
3. 60% of people believe in freedom of choice for individuals to decide how and when they gamble
4. Half the population (48%) is concerned that overregulation could drive customers to the black market
5. Only 8% of non-gamblers were definitely aware of industry responsible gambling measures
6. Both gamblers (55%) and non-gamblers (31%) believed that gamblers themselves should decide what they can afford to bet, rather than banks, gambling companies, or the government
Kenny Alexander, GVC Holding’s Chief Executive, commented:
“This report is a thoughtful and measured contribution to the debate on how to ensure the regulated gambling industry can thrive, provide entertainment and enjoyment for the millions of Britons who like a bet. While there is only a small minority of customers who run into problems, it is important that we put a safety net around them. We fully support the recommendation to bring forward the UK Government’s Review of the Gambling Act and we will play a full and active role in this process.
“I’m also glad to see detailed recommendations for a triennial review of the Gambling Commission, the licensing of affiliates, and the need for more research into problem gambling – particularly as claims around the scale of the issue frequently bear no resemblance at all to the independent research already available.
“As a socially responsible business, GVC is committed to constantly improving our player protection policies. We have already adopted several of the measures recommended in this report and there are others that we would like to see implemented across the industry.
“I am however concerned by the findings of our own research which highlights the lack of awareness amongst the general public of the numerous and sophisticated tools GVC and the industry have introduced to put control where it belongs: in the hands of our customers. We have to do a better job of communicating that, because those who are implacably opposed to gambling as a matter of principle are actively seeking to damage the industry through onerous regulation, which will ultimately drive customers into the hands of the unregulated black market. It is important that all stakeholders work together to keep gambling effectively regulated for all parties.”
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