Betting and gaming operator group GVC Holdings has undergone what the firm itself labels a “transformational year,” with its Ladbrokes Coral acquisition and Roar Digital US-based joint venture seeing cause for optimism during 2019 and beyond.

However, earlier this year the organisation debuted Changing for the Bettor, a new global responsible gambling initiative, as part of which the group vows to double its donation to research education and treatment practices.

Furthermore, it was also emphasised that the company is to spearhead a $5m research project alongside the Harvard Medical School’s Division on Addiction.

The industry has gone a long way towards securing the highest levels of protection”

In light of this development CasinoBeats caught up with Martin Lycka, GVC’s director of regulatory affairs, who talks through the new initiative, and the company’s global regulatory and responsible gambling strategy.

CasinoBeats: An increasing number of RG initiatives are being launched industry wide, with a regulatory crackdown ensuing in a number of jurisdictions, how key is this growing prominence in ensuring the protection of players?

Martin Lycka: Ensuring the protection of players is absolutely key. In my view, the industry has gone a long way towards securing the highest levels of protection against problem gambling over the course of the last five years; yet there’s still a lot of work to be done in this department.

GVC has recently launched its Changing for the Bettor responsible gambling program, which is designed to further enhance the level of safety and protection GVC products afford their customers.

CB: GVC stressed this year that it’s striving to become “the most trusted and enjoyable betting operator in the world,” how is this being achieved?

ML: As mentioned above, GVC’s Changing for the Bettor program provides the business with multiple tools that are designed to enhance levels of consumer protection when playing with any of GVC’s brands – as part of the program, GVC has amongst others committed to investing substantial funds into gambling addiction related research, promoting responsible gambling attitude not only within the gambling industry but also beyond or developing more responsible product designs.

“Responsible gambling is an all pervasive principle”

CB: In the recent ‘Changing for the Bettor’ announcement, a $5m project alongside the Harvard Medical School’s Division on Addiction was announced, what is the purpose of this? And what benefits will it bring company wide?

ML: The main purpose of the collaboration with the Harvard Medical School is to conduct further research into causes of gambling addiction, with a view to pre-empting them by means of fact based decisions resulting from high quality research.

CB: What is the purpose of the seven pillar approach highlighted? And how will they be beneficial moving forward?

ML: Responsible gambling is an all pervasive principle that governs GVC’s business activities – many of its individual facets are reflected in the seven pillars that support the program. We strongly believe that only multidimensional and multidisciplinary approach along the lines outlined in the seven pillar campaign can lead to a genuine change.

CB: The dates and theme for Responsible Gambling Week 2019 have recently been unveiled, how crucial is this industry wide effort? And how important is this for GVC?

ML: The Responsible Gambling Week initiative is one of the crucial industry tools designed to raise awareness of the industry’s efforts to minimise levels of problem gambling. GVC will take a very active part in its 2019 edition.

Lycka is to speak at next month’s Betting on Sports America conference, taking place on Thursday 25 April at 15:50-16:35 in a panel debating New York state, and having missed out on being an early sports betting adopter, how it will make up some of the ground that’s been lost to neighbouring New Jersey and others who were quick off the mark.

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