Multi-brand gambling group GVC Holdings on Friday announced that it would implement a set of practices to strengthen its responsible gambling safeguards amid the coronavirus pandemic.
GVC’s Friday announcement came just hours after the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC), the independent body representing all sectors of UK’s gambling industry, unveiled a 10-pledge action plan that set out the standards expected of its members during the unprecedented global crisis.
The coordinated approach introduced by the BGC urged betting and gaming operators servicing UK customers to up their customer protection and responsible marketing practices to ensure that the highest standards are implemented in the face of the Covid-19 outbreak.
As people are urged to stay home, self-isolating, to help contain the spread of the virus, online gambling operators, particularly ones offering digital casino-style products, have seen increased activity on their websites and across apps.
And that increased gaming activity has prompted concerns that more people are now at risk of developing problem behavior or addiction and calls for the industry to take actions against this.
GVC’s Upgraded Safeguards
GVC said that it would be proactively communicating with “all customers, across all Group brands and in all territories” to remind them to gamble responsibly and direct them to its set of safer gambling tools.
The company currently offers tools for deposit and time limits and self exclusion. It said Friday that it is set to roll out curfew setting, stake limit setting on slots, and reverse withdrawal settings in the coming weeks.
GVC also noted that it has added two new Markers of Harm indicators to its safer gambling algorithm that aim to enable it to identify potentially problematic gambling behavior at an early stage while a gambler is home-isolating.
To urge gamblers to gamble in a safe and responsible manner, the operator said that it would increase responsible gambling messaging throughout its websites and would run multi-channel responsible gambling marketing campaigns.
Finally, GVC said that it would monitor and take actions to prevent affiliates “from referencing the pandemic or encouraging excessive play due to boredom or isolation.” The company would provide its third-party advertising partners with a specific blacklist of banned terms they will not be able to use in their marketing campaigns.
Covid-19 Eats Into GVC Earnings
In an update on the expected impact from the global coronavirus spread and the cancellation/postponenment of sports amid the global pandemic, GVC said that it expects big impact on its full-year performance.
The company said that assuming there would be substantially fewer sporting events through August 2020, it expected its full-year EBITDA to be reduced by £130-£150 million. The closure of GVC’s betting shops across the UK is expected to reduce GVC’s EBITDA by an additional £45-£50 million per month.
The cancellation of horse racing in the UK is estimated to cut the operator’s EBITDA by an additional £20-£25 million per month.