GVC Holdings’ latest 2019-20 CSR Report, which detailed the groups approach to corporate responsibility, saw a significant decrease in players self-excluding themselves.

In 2019 the company saw a steep decline in players self-excluding themselves with 147,473 made compared to the 334,765 requested in 2018, the is decrease stated to be driven by the greater use of new account management tools enabling players to set their own play limits as well as earlier interventions from its responsible gaming teams.

The company also saw a slight decrease in customer interactions regarding problem gambling with 1,124,079 in 2018 to 1,072,416 in 2019.

Furthermore, the report states that from the penalty imposed by the UKGC following ‘systemic failings’ in GVC’s anti-money laundering and social responsibility obligations, £4.8m will be paid towards causes which help deliver the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms with the remaining £1.1m being paid to affected parties.

Through its safer gambling performance, the company increased its cash and in-kind contributions towards responsible gambling charities by over £1m, from £2.506m in 2018 to £3.707m in 2019.

Commenting in the report, Virginia McDowell, independent non-executive director and chair of the board CSR committee, said: “We continue to recognise the value of working constructively with our peers, national regulators and third sector organisations. 

“To this effect, we took on a proactive role in creating the Safer Gambling Commitments, launched in November 2019, with the aim of delivering long-term and fundamental changes in how gambling companies are run and their impacts on society. 

“We were pleased to see our hard work being recognised by credible third parties. Once again, we were included in the 2019 edition of the Dow Jones Sustainability Index as well as the FTSE4Good.” 

Additionally, the company highlighted its £5.5m commitment to its five-year partnership with the Harvard Medical School teaching hospital.

The partnership with the Division on Addiction, Cambridge Health Alliance, a Harvard Medical School teaching hospital, which is in its second year, aims to ‘better understand’ and ‘reduce’ the potential for problem gambling behaviour.

The report notes the activity streams the partnership have ventured down, including the patterns of normal internet gambling behaviour; behavioural markers of harm, evaluating the effectiveness of algorithms deployed by GVC; Safer Gambling limits and the affordability of online gambling; adopting an evidence based approach to product safety; and a review of responsible gambling training and its effectiveness.

Highlighting the partnership, director of the Division on Addiction, Cambridge Health Alliance assistant professor, Harvard Medical School, Debi Laplante, PH.D, stated: “2019 marked the first year of the five-year research collaboration between The Division on Addiction and GVC to better understand and reduce the potential for problematic gambling behaviour. 

“This follows a previous research collaboration with bwin party between 2004 – 2015. Much of the activity in the year focused on relationship-building, knowledge-sharing and data transmission, with highlights across seven topic areas including completed and ongoing research.”

The report went on to highlight other areas of Safer Gambling initiatives such as the national roll-out of GamCare’s Youth Outreach Programme where GVC contributed £500,000 towards expanding across the UK which offers free, interactive workshops along with free training provided to over 5,500 professionals.

Furthermore, GVC, along with four of its largest peers in the UK, collectively committed to contributing £100m installments between 2020 and 2023 and one per cent of revenues to safer gambling initiatives as well as committing £20m by 2020 to research, education and treatment of gambling-related harm.