Renowned academic, Dr Mark Griffiths an expert in addictive behaviours and treatment of problem gambling disorders, has joined the advisory board of Allwyn – the UK enterprise of Czech gambling conglomerate SAZKA Group seeking to become the next steward of the National Lottery.
Griffiths who leads the Behavioural Addiction unit at Nottingham Trent University, will serve as lead advisor to Sir Keith Mills bid team on player protections safeguards and responsible gambling policies.
Commenting on his appointment, Griffiths said: “I embrace advisory roles because I believe it’s the most effective way to improve swift intervention by forging closer collaboration between operators, charities, campaigners and experts.
“I’m partnering with Allwyn because their sister companies have proven to be industry leaders on player protection across Europe, while their early backing of raising The National Lottery’s age limit demonstrated their serious engagement with the UK regulatory environment”.
Griffiths is one of the leading experts in his field with a wealth of experience spanning 34 years of academic study, advising the government and public health networks the complexities of addiction treatment.
He co-founded the charity GamCare in 1997 and was GamCare’s Chair of Trustees for eight years (1997-2004). He is the co-developer of GAM-GaRD, a gambling risk tool that has been used by over 50 leading gambling operators and regulators to minimize gambling-related harms.
Outside of academia, Griffiths has advised governments on gambling addiction and mental health. He joined the World Health Organisation’s Expert Advisory Group on Adolescent Technology Use in 2016, which is a vital emerging area of academia that tackles the root causes of technology-related addictions including gambling and gaming.
His research will support Allwyn’s data-driven approach to player protection, with its European sister companies already employing technology that quickly identifies problematic behaviour. This includes MENTOR, a software system co-developed by Griffiths that uses personal messages to notify players of unusual changes in their playing behaviour and informs them what they can do about it.
Allwyn’s Bid Chair Sir Keith Mills stated: “Dr Mark Griffiths is one of the world’s foremost experts in the field of gambling addiction and player protection, and his insight will be invaluable to our bid. We both believe that lotteries should be the benchmark for how best to protect players in today’s digital world and that this can be achieved by using technology to facilitate the sharing of better information.
“Player protection sits at the heart of our parent company’s lottery operations across Europe, where they have experience of developing tailored solutions for especially vulnerable social groups. By appointing Dr Griffiths to our advisory board, we will continue to set the standard on player protection in the industry, and I look forward to working with him and the rest of our fantastic team to present a plan that makes the National Lottery both exciting and safe for all its players.”
Allwyn’s Compliance and Player Protection lead Anna Dearlove added: “Throughout the many years of working in my field I have consistently admired the work of Dr Griffiths. We are delighted to have him join our advisory board and I look forward to working together closely in the future.”
In the Fourth National Lottery licence competition, which is being run by the UK Gambling Commission, Allwyn is competing against current operators Camelot, Italy’s Sisal, and India’s Sugal & Damani. A preferred applicant is expected to be announced in September this year.