Regulatory Settlement re historic compliance failings within Ladbrokes Coral prior to the acquisition by GVC

Jay DossetterNews

31 July 2019

GVC Holdings PLC
(“GVC” or the “Group”)

Regulatory Settlement re historic compliance failings within Ladbrokes
Coral prior to the acquisition by GVC

GVC confirms that it has agreed a regulatory settlement with the Gambling Commission in relation to historic compliance failings that took place within the Ladbrokes Coral business prior to its acquisition by GVC in March 2018. As part of this process the Group will pay a total of £5.9m, £4.8m of which will be paid towards causes helping to deliver the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms, with the balance of £1.1m being paid to affected parties.

GVC acknowledges and regrets that certain legacy systems and processes in place in the Ladbrokes and Coral operations during the period 2014-2017 did not adequately meet the regulatory requirements in respect to social responsibility and anti-money laundering (“AML”) safeguards. Since that period the Group has transformed its AML and safer gambling processes to ensure that the business is fully compliant with its licensing obligations, in order prevent a repetition of the historic failings that led to today’s public statement. These measures include both a significant financial investment as well as a near five-fold increase in the staffing numbers of our compliance and responsible gambling teams since 2016. The Group has also materially increased player source of funds checks and responsible gambling customer interactions.

These improvements to the Group’s processes culminated in the launch of GVC’s industry-leading Changing for the Bettor responsible gambling strategy in January 2019, which encapsulates a comprehensive package of measures designed to better understand the issues around problem gambling and to protect and treat vulnerable individuals (further details below).

This strategy is underpinned by a ten-fold increase in investment into research, education and treatment of problem gambling as well as a drive to adopt a responsibility-first cultural change throughout our business.

The £5.9m settlement amount was already fully provided for in the Group’s financial statements.

Commenting on the announcement. GVC CEO, Kenneth Alexander said:

“Soon after the acquisition of Ladbrokes Coral following meetings and ongoing enquiries by the Gambling Commission, it became clear to GVC that there had been historic compliance failures within certain areas of the operations. Working closely with the Gambling Commission and an independent firm of solicitors, GVC facilitated a thorough, prompt and far-reaching investigation, which has led to today’s settlement. These historical failings were unacceptable and since the acquisition, I have overseen a systematic review of the enlarged Group’s player protection procedures and the individuals responsible for these problems have exited the business. I am confident that, we now have in place a robust and industry leading approach to player protection.

“More broadly, GVC is determined to take the lead in the critical area of responsible gambling, and is taking decisive, tangible action across a range of initiatives. This includes our recent voluntary commitment to increase funding for research, education and treatment projects ten-fold, as well as our decision to end all sponsorship deals that promote our brands on UK football shirts or on pitch-side advertising hoardings. However, there is more to be done and social responsibility and we will continue to work with other gambling companies and the Gambling Commission to raise operating standards.”

Changing for the Bettor

The guiding principle of Changing for the Bettor is to further establish GVC as the most trusted and enjoyable betting operator in the world (further details below). The campaign comprises seven pillars, each of which have substantive projects attached:

  1. Understanding the problem and best solutions – Including a five-year, multi-million-pound research project with the Division on Addiction, Cambridge Health Alliance, a Harvard Medical School teaching hospital.
  2. Educating our key stakeholders – Including the national roll out of youth education programmes with the charity GamCare in the UK – the largest project of its kind in the UK, as well as a state-school awareness campaign with EPIC Risk Management.
  3. Promoting responsible attitudes – Leading the industry in agreeing a ban on pre-watershed gambling adverts on television, around live sports.
  4. Empowering customers – Rolling out a ‘markers of harm’ algorithm to all UK facing parts of the business.
  5. Funding treatment for those in need – Increasing our donations to research, education and treatment on problem gambling to 1% of UK gross gaming revenue (GGR) by 2022
  6. Championing responsible product design – Developing more responsible product design principles.
  7. Driving cultural change within our business – Ensuring that a safer gambling approach underpins all aspects of our business. Accordingly, we are working in consultation with the Safer Online Gambling Group.

Further information can be found here: https://gvc-plc.com/corporate-responsibility/safer-gambling-strategy/

ENDS

Enquiries:

GVC Holdings PLC

Kenneth Alexander, Chief Executive Officer

Rob Wood, Chief Financial Officer

Paul Tymms, Director of Investor Relations & Corporate Communications

(investors@gvc-plc.com)

Media enquiries:

Buchanan Communications

David Rydell / Jamie Hooper

Tel: +44 (0) 20 7466 5066

About GVC
GVC Holdings PLC is one of the world’s largest sports-betting and gaming groups, operating both online and in the retail sector.  The Group owns a comprehensive portfolio of established brands; Sports Brands include bwin, Coral, Crystalbet, Eurobet, Ladbrokes, Neds and Sportingbet; Games Brands include CasinoClub, Foxy Bingo, Gala, Gioco Digitale, partypoker and PartyCasino. The Group owns proprietary technology across all of its core product verticals and in addition to its B2C operations provides services to a number of third-party customers on a B2B basis. The Group has also entered into a joint-venture with MGM Resorts to capitalise on the sports-betting and gaming opportunity in the US.  The Group, incorporated in the Isle of Man, is a constituent of the FTSE 250 index and has licences in more than 20 countries, across five continents.

For more information see the Group’s website: www.gvc-plc.com