GVC supports call for UK government to review Gambling Act

GVC has welcomed publication of the UK House of Lords Gambling Industry Committee’s report into the social and economic dimensions of gambling.

Coinciding with the Committee’s report, GVC has 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 at foot of story).

Kenny Alexander, GVC’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.”

A number of principles within the report are already reflected in GVC’s safer gambling strategy – Changing for the Bettor – which the company says they have put at the heart of its business. These include:

  • A reduction in the amount of gambling advertising
    • As of July 2019 GVC removed all in-ground and perimeter advertising from UK football venues
    • Last year the company also ended all shirt sponsorships and donated a full season of sponsorship rights to charity
    • 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
    • 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
    • Led the way in increasing voluntary contributions to fund research, education and treatment tenfold – from 0.1% to 1% of GGY. The other big four operators have since followed this lead
  • Ensuring children and vulnerable people are protected
    • We support the call for a minimum age of 18 on all gambling products
    • 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 responsible gambling teams to intervene and prevent problems from developing.