GVC exec: “One size fits all online stake limit” not the answer during coronavirus measures

By Iqbal Johal

Introducing a “one size fits all limit” on online gambling during the coronavirus outbreak will drive players to the unregulated market, according to a GVC Holdings executive.

Last week, the UK cross-party Gambling-Related Harm All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) called for operators to introduce a daily gambling limit of £50 ($61.85) during the self-isolation period.

GVC Director of Regulatory Affairs and Trustee for GVC Foundation US, Martin Lycka, has told Gambling Insider that while operators will take responsibility more than ever during the coronavirus crisis, which has seen a spike in online gambling, introducing an online cap would be counterproductive.

He said: "There’s been a lot of suggestions about introducing one size fits all limits but I believe any statutory limit would be quite counterproductive because there are people out there who can spend much less than some others, which could bog us down in a perennial debate about where to draw the line.

"If the customer demand can’t be satisfied, there will be a certain number of punters who might be driven away from the regulated market, by being incentivised to gamble with operators that do not have to have any such restrictions.

"That’s why I think we are all better off if customers are motivated to stay within the regulated market. Instead, I’m in favour of having affordability background checks that would allow both the customer and the operator to make sure the customer doesn’t spend more on gambling beyond their means.

"Of course, we at GVC remain absolutely committed to upholding the highest applicable industry standards in terms of consumer protection, in particular responsible gambling.

"Now is not the time to ditch any of that, if anything we see it as our responsibility to make sure people can continue enjoying gambling and betting as a form of entertainment in a responsible fashion."

Lycka also mentioned that the outbreak could provide an opportunity for the industry to increase the promotion of responsible gambling, reinforced by the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) introducing a 10-point action plan aimed at improving player protection.

He added: "I absolutely believe it’s a huge opportunity for the industry as a whole. It gives the online channel an opportunity to provide additional information about responsible gambling and also the likes of sports integrity, consumer protection and KYC checks.

"There’s definitely an onus on the industry to make sure we continue and step up our efforts in this space, and that was going to have to happen regardless of the virus. There’s an opportunity to further educate people and provide them with new information and new tools, especially tools that haven’t been exposed to online before."

You can read more from Martin Lycka in our coronavirus problem gambling feature once available in our May/June edition of Gambling Insider.


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