GVC to support gambling addicts as seeks to cleans up its act

The owner of Ladbrokes and Coral yesterday sought to make a clean break with its chequered past following a spate of scandals.

GVC said bosses’ bonuses will be partly determined by how well the company looks after vulnerable gamblers, as it announced a scheme to stop customers spending more than they can afford.

The bookie will also change its name to Entain Plc, as bosses pledged to implement the kind of corporate governance that ‘befit our status as a FTSE 100 company’.

GVC said bosses’ bonuses will be partly determined by how well the firm looks after vulnerable gamblers, as it announced a scheme to stop customers spending more than they can afford

The business was hit with a £5.9million fine by the Gambling Commission last year for ‘systemic failings’ in protecting customers and preventing money laundering.

Yesterday, it also announced that customers in countries where gambling is unregulated – and often untaxed – will no longer be able to bet on its websites.

HM Revenue & Customs is investigating GVC over disguised payments from past operations in Turkey, where gambling is illegal.

Earnings are set to top £770million this year, despite the closure of its 3,000 bookmakers, following a boom in online gaming. The measures announced yesterday will lead to a £40million hit to earnings in 2021.

Revenues in its online division have grown by more than 10 per cent for 19 consecutive quarters, and accelerated because families are stuck at home during the pandemic.

Under its Advanced Responsibility and Care programme, staff will conduct more checks on customers when they hit ‘various thresholds’. 

This could include how long they have been gambling in a single session, or how much they have spent. 

But the measures were met with scepticism by campaigners, who said the announcement was light on detail and would do little to stop the firm making massive profits.

They claim GVC and its rivals cannot be trusted to take meaningful action because a significant chunk of profits comes from problem gamblers. 

Earlier this year former boss Kenny Alexander admitted that 38 per cent of its deposits came from just 1.4 per cent of its customers.

The Gambling Commission is consulting on measures which could see each customer’s monthly losses capped at as little as £100.

A GVC spokesman said: ‘The commitments on raising standards are not just words, but backed by very significant financial investment.

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