GVC Holdings has revamped how it manages corporate social responsibility following its acquisition of Ladbrokes Coral as it looks to establish itself as “the safest and most trusted operator” in the industry.
In its first Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Annual Report since the acquisition of Ladbrokes Coral, the operator revealed that it has established a board-level CSR committee, as well as appointing Grainne Hurst as its new director of responsible gambling and Jay Dossetter as head of CSR. It has also developed a new CSR strategy, Fair Play, to prioritise areas and issues to tackle in the year ahead.
The group also made a series of quantitative commitments, including the doubling of the amount it voluntarily donates to problem gambling research, education and treatment bodies to 0.2% of UK gross gaming revenue, rising gradually to 1% by 2022. This was first announced in April, alongside its commitment to ending sports sponsorship and a call to end sportsbook broadcast advertising in the UK.
By reaching that target in three years’ time it has expanded on the five-year pledge it made last week alongside rivals William Hill, Flutter Entertainment (formerly Paddy Power Betfair), The Stars Group-owned Sky Betting & Gaming and bet365.
It said the amount donated would have been £20m based on its most recent financial figures.
GVC has also said it will start the provision of safer gambling awareness and education programmes for school children through its partnership with EPIC Risk Management, the independent gambling harm minimisation consultancy. It will pioneer new approaches to transparent reporting on responsible gaming and betting, developing robust metrics and develop its partnership with Harvard Medical School to better understand and reduce the potential for problem gambling behaviour.
“The past year has been transformational. GVC is now the world’s largest online-led sports-betting and gaming operator; a truly global operator with over 25,000 employees,” said Virginia McDowell, Chair of the GVC board’s CSR Committee.
“Our growth has brought with it a commensurate expansion in the expectations around how we manage our responsibilities towards society, particularly as they relate to safer gambling. And let me be clear from the outset: Our ambition is to be the safest and most trusted operator in the world.”
The donation pledge comes on the same day that NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens suggested a mandatory levy should be enforced if gambling companies are not willing to direct more of their money to helping the treatment of problem gamblers.
In its CSR Report, GVC also made a series of pledges as a responsible employer, including the establishment of a “one GVC” culture across the company, harmonising policies and developing its employer proposition around a shared set of values and opportunities. It will also roll out Well-me, a targeted three-year plan to enhance the physical and emotional well-being of all GVC employees.
As part of its Future Objectives, the group said it would start distributing funds from the newly established GVC Community Fund through grants of up to £5,000 around the key themes of supporting grassroots, women’s and disability sport as well as mental health and men’s health issues.
In terms of responsible business operations, GVC said it would take steps towards reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 15% by 2021 on a per capita basis.