London-listed betting and gaming operator GVC Holdings has set out a series of corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives to minimise potential harm caused by problem gaming, alongside a multi-million-pound investment in a new community programme to support British athletes.

GVC has outlined a four-fold approach to minimise the potential for harm, recognizing that for a small minority, gambling can have a negative impact on their lives. The responsible gaming initiatives cover advertising, research, education and increased investment.

GVC said that it recognised the concerns of the British public that there were too many betting advertisements on television in the UK, and will support a move to ban gambling adverts around live football, before the 9pm watershed.

In order to better understand the scale and causes of problem gambling, the company will be announcing details on a multi-million pound research partnership with one of the world’s leading academic institutions.

GVC said that the project will assess the extent of internet gambling, identify the markers of harm across products and propose improvements to the operator’s own algorithms.

The company added that educating young people on the potential dangers of gambling-related harm is also a central focus. It has partnered GamCare, the UK’s leading provider of support to problem gamblers, to roll out its Youth Outreach Programme, nationwide across the country.

The investment of £500,000 over the next two years will continue to raise awareness in both young people and youth professionals of the dangers associated with gambling.

To support its responsible gaming programme, GVC will double its investment in this area, committing over £4m in 2019, twice the contribution called for by the sector’s responsible gambling organisations.

“As a leader in the industry, we fully recognise the need to ensure we do everything we can to ensure an enjoyable experience for our players that minimises the potential to cause harm,” said GVC chief Kenneth Alexander. “The measures we have set out today demonstrate our commitment to take tangible action to understand and reduce the impact of problem gambling.”

Alongside the responsible gaming measures, GVC also announced a new community programme to support aspiring athletes, as well as grassroots community and health projects, over the next three years.

This includes a three-year partnership with SportsAid, which will deliver funding for 50 aspiring Olympians across the UK, and the establishment of an independent Community Fund, with £2m of seed funding run and administered by the UK Community Foundation, which will deliver small scale grants to local good causes who promote grassroots sports and tackle men’s health issues.

This is in addition to the existing Ladbrokes Coral Trust, a pro-bono colleague volunteering scheme and funding for a number of responsible gambling charities including Gamble Aware and GamCare.

“Today’s unique investment highlights the new commitment that the company will be taking to invest and support the communities we serve,” continued Alexander. “Through these partnerships we are delighted to be supporting the sporting heroes of the future as well as the local clubs where many of them have started their aspiring careers.”

SportsAid CEO Tim Lawler added: “SportsAid’s primary purpose is to support talented young sports people and GVC will help us to do that. A major challenge for us though, is to raise awareness of the charity and we feel, with this long term commitment from GVC that many more people will get to know hear about SportsAid.

“It’s an important time for British sport and SportsAid is well-placed to make a positive contribution. Support such as this from GVC, along with their aim to champion women in sport and disability sport in particular, enables SportsAid to continue making a real difference to the next generation of athletes.”

Shares in GVC Holdings plc (LSE:GVC) were trading down 0.34 per cent at 887.50 pence per share in London Wednesday morning.

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