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GVC Holdings PLC (LON: GVC) Calls for Expanded Gambling Ban

UK Gambling

British bookmaker GVC Holdings PLC (LON: GVC) is upping its responsible gambling efforts and calling for an end to all sportsbook advertising in the UK. The company was also the first to support the pre-watershed advertising ban in October last year publicly. It is now supporting the idea of extending the ban to any time of the day, which would include both live and repeated sports events. However, the ban exempts horse racing from its purview.

GVC is throwing its weight behind promotions that propagate responsible and safe gambling. It suggests that this type of adverts should be limited to one per commercial break. The operator said that the pre-watershed, whistle-to-whistle ban which will be implemented when the 2019-20 football season begins in August, does not do enough. The ban was agreed upon by the industry and was added to the Gambling Industry Code for Socially Responsible Advertising by the Industry Group for Responsible Gambling (IGRG) in December.

Kenny Alexander, chief executive of GVC, said that a vast majority of its customers enjoyed its products responsibly. However, the industry must do more to protect its customers from potential gambling harm. He added that as the largest gambling company in the UK and the owner of Coral and Ladbrokes, GVC is doing its share. He also asked other members of the industry to help bring an end to broadcast advertising which promotes sports betting in the UK, regardless of the time of the day.

GVC is also taking some more initiatives to tackle harm related to gambling. It has launched the Changing for the Bettor campaign as a corporate social responsibility drive. The campaign launched in January this year and will include new initiatives from the company like investments in responsible gaming tech. It will also support research and introduce nuanced voluntary controls across its businesses to ensure that it operates fairly and sustainably.

The first among its many measures will be a ban on shirt sponsorship and perimeter advertising in the UK. This will help the users enjoy watching a sporting event without any cue to start betting. GVC wants other operators and the UK football authorities to follow suit. It is the first and only operator to date to commit raising its spending on research, education, and treatment to 1% of the Gross Gaming Revenue by 2022. By this time, the operator will be investing 10x the current minimum requirement for operators.

The operator will up it’s funding for problem gambling treatment by establishing an independent trust. The trust will make charitable contributions to treatment centers and Leon House Centre in Manchester will be the first establishment to receive funding. GVC is also planning to make the GamBan software, created by the team behind Campaign for Fairer Gambling. The software will be available for free for individuals who show signs of problem gambling.

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