GVC Holdings has stepped up its corporate social responsibility campaign Changing for the Better by partnering the Safer Online Gambling Group (SOGG), a body set up by a former gambling addict to raise awareness of gambling-related harm.
Through the partnership, GVC will provide SOGG with funding to develop tailored digital therapy tools for those showing signs of problem gambling.
“We believe that it is vital to increase collaboration between operators, regulators and independent treatment providers and are very pleased to be able to partner with SOGG and support their development of digital therapy tools to treat problem gambling behaviour,” GVC director of responsible gambling Grainne Hurst said.
SOGG, a non-profit body, was set up by former gambling addict David Bradford and his son Adam earlier this year. Bradford suffered from gambling addiction for more than 30 years, ultimately going to prison for stealing £50,000 from his employers to fund his habit and racking up more than £500,000 in debt.
It was established to provide a platform to facilitate communication and action between the industry, families affected by gambling and policymakers. SOGG has already garnered support from the Conservative and Labour Parties, and is currently exploring ways to collaborate on effective intervention strategies with the UK’s National Health Service.
“Online gambling became a devastating addiction for me. In many cases, an addict will not know they have a problem until it’s too late,” Bradford said. “Psychologically, it takes you over.
“GVC’s commitment to funding pioneering treatment centres and exploring technologies that may stem a problem in the making is good news, and I’m pleased that they have asked SOGG to work alongside them.”
The project has been agreed as part of GVC’s wider campaign to make gambling safer, which has already seen the operator pledge to commit 1% of gross gaming revenue to the research, education and treatment of problem gambling by 2022.
It has also agreed to invest $5m in a responsible gambling research project, conducted in partnership with Harvard Medical School’s Division on Addiction and partnered EPIC Risk Management to launch a youth outreach programme across the UK.
The operator, having prevailed in its calls for a so-called ‘whistle to whistle’ advertising ban around live sports broadcasts, has also called for a blanket prohibition on broadcast advertising. As part of its commitment to ensuring spectators can watch live sport with no inducement to gamble, it will end all shirt sponsorship deals and not allow its brands to appear on pitchside hoardings.