GVC partners EPIC for responsible gambling drive

19 December 2018

GVC Holdings has ramped up efforts to protect its UK customers from gambling-related harm by joining forces with EPIC Risk Management.

EPIC will now advise Ladbrokes and bwin.party owner GVC on its responsible gaming strategies, as well as delivering training to the operator's employees.

In particular, EPIC will advise the operator on best practice for interacting with customers showing signs of problem gambling, as well as helping GVC deliver responsible gaming programmes for high-risk demographics. This will see the pair collaborate with a number of charitable partners. 

In addition, EPIC and GVC have pledged to deliver waht they claim to be the largest face-to-face gambling awareness and education programme for school children. Running over the next two years, the initiative aims to reach at least 12,000 children across 100 UK state schools to help them make more informed decisions about gambling when they reach the age of 18. This programme will also be subject to an evaluation by what is described as a leading UK university.

“We are delighted to be working with EPIC and to be able to utilise their expertise to help us to deliver an industry-leading approach to all aspects of responsible gambling," GVC director of responsible gambling Grainne Hurst commented. "This agreement supports our commitment to create the safest gaming environment for our customers, employees and wider society, including young people.”

The EPIC partnership is the latest to be agreed by GVC as it enhances its player protection and corporate social responsibility strategies. This saw the operator speak out in favour of a ban on gambling advertising being broadcast around live sport. Last week it was confirmed that this so-called whistle to whistle ban would come into force for all UK operators ahead of the 2019-20 football season.

It has also entered into a multi-million pound research partnership with an as-yet undisclosed academic institution to investigate the prevalence of online gambling, identify markers of harm across all products and refine its own harm detection measures.

GVC is also working with gambling addiction treatment funding body GamCare, pledging £500,000 (€554,500/$632,100) to support its Youth Outreach Programme. The company has also pledged to double investment in its own responsible gaming programme to £4m in 2019.

In addition, GVC in September committed to help fund a new study into problem gambling in the US as part of a long-term deal with the US National Council on Problem Gambling.

EPIC, meanwhile, is working with a number of other leading names in the UK gambling sector to help improve consumer protection startegies. Other partners include Sky Bet, which launched a responsible gambling campaign focused on the 72 clubs across the English Football League with EPIC earlier this year, and Kindred Group. It is active in a range of other sectors, including financial services, criminal justice, and with armed forces.

“EPIC are committed to reducing gambling related harm and helping to advise and educate organisations in the highest risk sectors in how to pro-actively make gambling safer and fairer for all, especially young people," the consultancy's chief executive Paul Buck said.

"We welcome the opportunity to work with GVC as they aspire to improve standards around responsible gambling and provide a safer environment for their customers and their employees.”

The UK Gambling Commission recently set out details of its own efforts to boost responsible gambling initiatives, inviting the industry to express opinions on its latest proposals. Views are being sought via submissions to the body’s website through to February 15 on five priority areas: research to inform action, prevention, treatment, evaluation and gambling businesses.

The move comes after the Commission admitted it had been disappointed with progress on a number of the priority actions set out in 2016.