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London-listed gaming operator GVC Holdings has rolled out a number of new responsible gambling initiatives while calling for a complete ban on sports betting advertising in the United Kingdom.

The operator said Thursday that it would like to see an end to all UK sports-betting broadcast advertising, at any time of the day, in both live and repeat sports broadcasts, excluding horseracing.

GVC’s proposal includes an exemption for ads specifically promoting responsible gambling and safer gambling campaigns, although these would be strictly limited to one advertisement per commercial break.

GVC said that its ban proposal goes far further than the pre-watershed, whistle-to-whistle advertising ban, which is set to be introduced at the start of the 2019-20 football season in August.

Despite helping to introduce this restriction, the company believes that it does not go far enough and has therefore called on its industry peers to join in helping to “revolutionise the marketing of gambling brands”.

“Whilst the vast majority of our customers enjoy our products responsibly, it is high time that the industry did more to protect its customers from potential harm,” said GVC chief executive Kenneth Alexander.

“As the UK’s largest gambling company, and owner of Ladbrokes and Coral, we at GVC are doing exactly that. I call on our industry peers to help us bring about an end to broadcast advertising which promotes sports-betting in the UK no matter the time of day.”

In addition to its ad ban proposal, GVC also announced further initiatives under its ‘Changing for the Bettor’ safer gambling campaign.

These include a commitment by the company to unilaterally end all football shirt sponsorship deals with UK teams and end perimeter board advertising at football grounds, in order to allow sports fans to watch their favourite teams without seeing any incentives to bet.

The company has also committed to doubling its spend on research, education and treatment, from the current level of 0.2 per cent of UK gross gambling revenue to 1 per cent by 2022, ten times the current minimum requirement, as well as establishing a new independent trust to make charitable contributions to fund treatment of problem gambling.

In addition, GVC plans to help those customers that are struggling with gambling by providing the GamBan software for free to any individual who is showing signs of problematic play.

“Increasing investment in research, education and treatment ten-fold by 2022, funding treatment centres and using technology to intervene before a problem develops, alongside our existing behavioural analytics, brings to life our commitment to be the most trusted and enjoyable betting operator in the world,” Alexander said.

“The industry should and can do more to protect the vulnerable, and today’s announcement demonstrates GVC’s commitment to delivering on that.”

Shares in GVC Holdings plc. (LSE:GVC) were trading up 0.31 per cent at 655.40 pence per share in London Thursday morning.

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