GVC backs Lords ‘thoughtful and measured contribution’ to UK gambling’s future regime

GVC Holdings has welcomed the report published by the House of Lords Gambling Industry Committee, reiterating the measures that the operator group has already taken to ‘constantly improve player protection policies’.

Published this morning, The House of Lords Gambling Select Committee’s report ‘Gambling Harm – Time for Action‘ calls for an overhaul of UK gambling, seeking to implement a ‘regime which prioritises the welfare of gamblers ahead of industry profits’.

The report into gambling regulation has called for ‘urgent action’ to address harms caused by gambling, after carrying out research into the social and economic dimensions of gambling.

Commenting on the report, Kenneth Alexander, GVC’s Chief Executive, said: “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.”

The report outlined 66 recommendations for the betting and gaming industry, including a reduction in gambling advertising, enhanced funding for research into problem gambling and further measures to ensure the protection of children and vulnerable people.

Alexander highlighted that GVC had already rolled out a number of the recommendations as part of its Changing for the Bettor campaign.

As of July 2019 GVC removed all in-ground and perimeter advertising from UK football venues, having also terminated all shirt sponsorships and donating a full season of sponsorship rights to charity. The operator group also called attention to its role in agreeing a pre-watershed, whistle-to-whistle ban on gambling adverts on television, around live sports

Underlining its commitment to additional problem gambling research funding, GVC pointed out that it had recently entered a five-year partnership with Harvard Medical School’s Division on Addiction to research the issues around problem gambling and develop better treatment.

GVC also released the findings of a new national survey, which polled 2000 Britons in May 2020, which found that 77% of regular gamblers see betting as a leisure industry, while 69% of those surveyed participate in some form of gambling.

The survey found that 48% of respondents were concerned that overregulation could drive customers to the black market. Meanwhile, 55% of gamblers and 31% of non-gamblers believed that gamblers themselves should decide what they can afford to bet, rather than banks, gambling companies, or the government.

Alexander continued: “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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