GVC supports pre-watershed gambling advertising ban

As the call for a gambling advertising debate gathers momentum, GVC Holdings PLC (owner of Ladbrokes) has announced that it supports a pre-watershed gambling advertising ban.

Commenting on the announcement (that can be downloaded below), its CEO, Kenny Alexander, has said:

As a leader in the industry, we fully recognise the need to ensure we do everything we can to ensure an enjoyable experience for our players that minimises the potential to cause harm. The measures we have set out today demonstrate our commitment to take tangible action to understand and reduce the impact of problem gambling.

Those measures include the following four initiatives, intended to minimise the potential for harm:

  • AdvertisingGVC says: “Three quarters of the British public think there are too many betting advertisements on television in the UK. GVC recognises these concerns and will support a move to ban gambling adverts around live football, before the 9PM watershed”.
  • ResearchGVC says: “In order to better understand the scale and causes of the problem, GVC will be announcing details on a multi-million pound research partnership with one of the world’s leading academic institutions. This project will assess the extent of internet gambling, identify the markers of harm across products and propose improvements to our own algorithms. Further details will be provided in due course”.
  • EducationGVC says: “Educating young people on the potential dangers of gambling-related harm is also central to the policy. GVC has therefore agreed to partner with GamCare, the leading provider of support to problem gamblers, to roll out its Youth Outreach Programme, nationwide across the UK. This investment of £500,000 over the next two years will continue to raise awareness in both young people and youth professionals of the dangers associated with gambling”.
  • Increased investment – GVC says: “To support our responsible gaming programme, GVC will double its investment in this area, committing over £4 million in 2019, twice the contribution called for by the sector’s responsible gambling organisations”.

A different approach was advocated last month by Sky Betting & Gaming CEO Richard Flint. In an article for The Telegraph entitled “Banning companies from sponsoring sports won’t tackle problem gambling”, he wrote:

No one can deny that there is a high concentration of gambling advertising around sport, particularly football. And some argue banning gambling TV advertising before the watershed, and stopping gambling companies from sponsoring clubs, would protect children and vulnerable people. But I do not believe a watershed or the banning of sponsorship would be the most effective way of getting to grips with problem gambling.

UPDATE: David Clifton encourages further debate on this subject in his October 2018 Licensing Expert article for SBC News entitled “Time to start a constructive gambling marketing & advertising debate?”