GVC Holdings, the global sports betting and gaming entertainment group soon to be re-named Entain, has engaged a world-leading academic specialising in online addiction to advise on further enhancing player protection and disclosed further technological initiatives to advance safer play.
Dr Mark Griffiths, Distinguished Professor of Behavioural Addiction and Psychology at Nottingham Trent University, joins GVC this month with the same title. He will be auditing GVC’s policies and processes on responsible gaming and suggest improvements, drawing on academic and scientific experience gained over more than 30 years studying online behaviours and addiction. Dr Griffiths was also part of the World Health Organisation working party that formally recognised “gaming disorder” as a psychological condition last year.
Last week, GVC’s CEO Shay Segev set out his direction for the Group, focusing on two strategic pillars of sustainability and growth, underpinned by the Group’s industry-leading proprietary technology. This included a commitment, under the new Sustainability Charter, to continue to lead the industry on responsible gambling.
A core part of this is the launch of the Advanced Responsibility & Care (“ARC”) programme. The ARC programme encompasses scientific analysis of player behaviour to inform the enhancement of player protections. GVC’s data scientists then derive predictive models and analytics to score players for potential indicators of protection. Each player has a dynamic risk rating aligned to their play patterns and other criteria to enable real time monitoring and analysis tools to enable early interventions to improve player protection.
Professor Griffiths’ work will be instrumental in delivering ARC. He will work with the business to apply findings from the behaviours of over 160 million players on GVC’s global database to help develop stronger rules, measures and interventions. He will also draw on GVC’s existing multi-million-dollar partnership with Harvard Medical School, now two years into a five-year study into addiction.
GVC is today also announcing further initiatives under its new Sustainability Charter. These include a partnership in US with Conscious Gaming, under which GVC will become the first official partner of PlayPause, a recently launched multi-state responsible gambling tool. PlayPause will launch with BetMGM, GVC’s U.S. based joint venture with MGM Resorts early next year.
“We know that the most responsible operator will also be the most successful operator, which is at the heart of Entain and our new strategy,” commented Shay Segev, Chief Executive. “Our investments in new technologies, and partnership with Dr Griffiths and Harvard, underpin our firm commitment to providing customers with the safest and most enjoyable player experience possible.”
“I’m delighted to be joining GVC at this time because it gives me an unprecedented opportunity to help deliver innovative technological advances supported by evidential scientific research to improve player protection” Dr Griffiths said. “I plan to apply the understanding and specialist expertise built over a long career in psychology to reduce the risks of problem play.”
The US partnership with Play Pause follows new partnerships in the UK announced last week, with Future Anthem and Mindway AI, whose specialist expertise in neuroscientific and academic based algorithmic learnings will further inform work with Dr Griffiths and Harvard on player protection.