GVC Holdings PLC (LSE: GVC), the global sports-betting and gaming group and owner of Ladbrokes and Coral, has called for an end to all UK sports-betting broadcast advertising, at any time of the day, on live and repeated sporting events (exempting horse racing).
Under GVC’s proposals advertising specifically promoting responsible gambling and safer gambling campaigns would be permitted, but strictly limited to one advertisement per commercial break.
The call goes far further than the forthcoming pre-watershed, whistle-to-whistle advertising ban which is set to be introduced at the start of the 2019-20 football season in August. While GVC helped to bring about the new restrictions, the Company believes they do not go far enough, and is therefore calling on its industry peers to join it in helping to revolutionise the marketing of gambling brands.
In addition to the call for a broadcast advertising ban, the Group is also today announcing further initiatives, as part of its Changing for the Bettor safer gambling campaign to tackle the issue of gambling related harm head-on. These include:
- Shirt sponsorship and perimeter advert ban – GVC has today committed to unilaterally ending all shirt sponsorship deals with UK football teams and banning match-side hoardings adverts at football grounds, to allow fans to watch their favourite teams without seeing any incentives to bet. The Company is calling on the industry and the football governing bodies to also take action in this area.
- Increased investment in RET – Having been the first and only operator to commit to doubling spending on RET (Research, Education and Treatment) to 0.2% of UK gross gambling revenue in 2019, GVC has today committed to raising this to 1% by 2022 – ten times the current requirement.
- Treatment centres – GVC is establishing a new independent trust with the aim of making charitable contributions to fund treatment of problem gambling. The Leon House treatment centre in Manchester has been identified as the first preferred recipient.
- Safer gambling software – To help those customers that are struggling with their gambling, we will offer the GamBan software, free to any individual who is showing signs of problematic play.
Commenting on the new proposals, GVC’s CEO, Kenny Alexander said: “Whilst the vast majority of our customers enjoy our products responsibly, it is high time that the industry did more to protect its customers from potential harm. As the UK’s largest gambling company, and owner of Ladbrokes and Coral, we at GVC are doing exactly that. I call on our industry peers to help us bring about an end to broadcast advertising which promotes sports-betting in the UK no matter the time of day.
“Increasing investment in research, education and treatment ten-fold by 2022, funding treatment centres and using technology to intervene before a problem develops, alongside our existing behavioural analytics, brings to life our commitment to be the most trusted and enjoyable betting operator in the world.
“The industry should and can do more to protect the vulnerable, and today’s announcement demonstrates GVC’s commitment to delivering on that.”