BGC lauds industry’s ‘huge contribution’ in community and social initiatives

The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has provided an overview of the gambling industry’s 2021 CSR initiatives, focusing on community outreach, economic and social contribution, promotion of equality and diversity, employee support and environmental initiatives. 

A number of prominent companies were highlighted in the report, including bet365 Group, Flutter Entertainment, William Hill, Gamesys and Entain, whilst BGC members in general were praised for their collective support for the Young People’s Gambling Harm Prevention Programme, delivered in cooperation with YGAM and GamCare.

In particular, the activities of the Entain Foundation since its 2019 launch were singled out as a major CSR achievement for the FTSE100 gambling group. 2021 saw the foundation commit to donating £500 million over the next five years to causes such as responsible gambling, education and treatment, men’s mental health, and community projects.

“We are delighted to have partnered with sports clubs, gambling researchers and athletes in a number of our key jurisdictions, including Germany, the UK, Italy and the US,” said Martin Lycka, Entain’s SVP for American Regulatory Affairs and Responsible Gambling and Entain Foundation Trustee.

“The range of the new initiatives that we are announcing, and the quality of the partnerships that we have entered, is a great endorsement of our overall CSR strategy, and there is plenty more to come.”

Other highlights were the Gamesys Foundation’s £100,000 commitment to mental health initatives and the William Hill Foundation’s partnership with the Scottish Football Association concerning mental wellbeing, whilst Playtech became the inaugural holder of GamCare’s Safer Gambling Standard. 

Regarding wider economic and societal impacts, the BGC again reiterated the gambling sector’s financial contribution in the UK, including £7.7 billion in gross value added, £2.2 billion in treasury taxes and £4.5 billion across its supply chain and generation of 119,000 jobs – 61,000 direct, 22,000 in Scotland and Northern England and 15,000 in London – of which 19% under the age of 25 and 51% under 35.

Further economic highlights included the much touted £350 million into horse racing through media rights, sponsorship and levy payments, as well as £40 million for the English Premier League (EFL), £10 million for darts and snooker and £2.5 million for rugby league.

Additional societal initiatives have focused on safer gambling – particularly with regards to funding to research, education and treatment – with industry contributions to GambleAware reaching £10.6 million. bet365, Entain and William Hill made the biggest contributions, whilst Flutter donated £8 million in March 2021.

Initiatives from Entain and William Hill were highlighted, but a notable policy implemented was Kindred Group’s decision to report its revenue share from high-risk players, outlining a goal of generating 0% revenue from harmful gambling by 2023. 

Maris Catania, Head of Responsible Gaming & Research, Kindred Group, explained: “Sharing these numbers may not be popular with some audiences, but it will also create a potential chance to have more fact-based discussions and data sharing in the gambling industry. That is truly important.”

Flutter Entertainment, meanwhile, was pinpointed for its sustainability programme, particularly the opening of its new office site in Leeds, which was constructed with ‘sustainability in mind’. The building features solar panels on its roof, electricity through a  green tariff, six electric car charging points and 100 bike racks, monitored energy usage and a green waste policy that sees none go to landfill.

In addition to environmental efforts, Gamesys signed up to the UN Global Compact to endorse human rights, labour and anti-corruption best practices, whilst also achieving certification from the Carbon Neutral Trust. 

“Becoming operationally carbon neutral is an important milestone for Gamesys Group,” stated Kevin Clegg, Sustainability Director, Gamesys. “It delivers upon one of the Group’s core strategic targets and reflects our commitment to sustainability and the worldwide fight against climate change.”

Moving onto diversity, Entain, Flutter, William Hill, Playtech and 888 were all noted for their movements in this space. Entain was highlighted for its EnTrain initiative and £250,000 support to young women in the industry via its Foundation, whilst 888 established its Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) Committee.

John Mendelsohn, Chairman of 888 and the 888 ESG Committee, noted: “As a Board, we are committed to ensuring that issues such as safer gambling, the climate change agenda, diversity and inclusion, and community engagement are consistently incorporated into the Group’s strategy and decision making. 

“The creation of this Committee demonstrates 888’s firm commitment to continuous ESG improvements and ensuring sustainable and ethical best practice across the Group’s activities.”

Finally, with regards to supporting employees, Flutter Entertainment was singled out for appointing Group Director of Inclusion and Diversity and partnering with Brighton and Hove Albion FC’s Brighton and Hove Pride via its Paddy Power brand, whilst JenningsBet, Entain, William Hill, Mecca Bingo, The Rank Group, Gamesys and Kindred were noted for LGBTQ+ partnerships and inclusivity. 

Greg McCaw, Group Director of Inclusion and Diversity, Flutter Entertainment, added: “Already I’ve seen a willingness and commitment to developing a strong strategy for Inclusion and Diversity at all levels within this organisation, especially from senior leaders, where it can make a real impact.”

Commenting on the report, Michael Dugher, BGC Chief Executive, remarked: “This report highlights the huge contribution the regulated industry is making to the communities in which it operates.

“Across the board, we see examples where members and their employees are making a real difference to the lives of others, through their support for the post-pandemic recovery, their backing for local communities, charities and grassroots sports clubs hit hard by the pandemic, their commitment to inclusion and diversity and their determination to tackle climate change.”

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