GVC Holdings Group CEO Kenneth Alexander has withdrawn from this week’s Gambling Related Harm All Party Parliamentary Group (GRH APPG) hearing, with the group’s chair Carolyn Harris MP branding the executive’s decision ‘outrageous’.
The APPG hearing, which will specifically focus upon identifying and resolving harms caused by online gambling, brings together representatives from a number of leading UK operators including GVC, William Hill and Flutter Entertainment.
Alongside Alexander, who withdrew his attendance due to other commitments, William Hill chief executive Philip Bowcock and Flutter’s Peter Jackson have also withdrawn from the event, choosing to send corporate representatives as replacements.
William Hill is due to send Phil Walker, the group’s managing director of online betting in the UK and Ireland, while chief executive of European operations for the Paddy Power and Betfair brands Dan Taylor will represent Flutter Entertainment.
The hearing will also be attended by John Coates, the joint chief executive of bet365, as well as Sky Betting and Gaming’s CEO Ian Proctor and Phil Cronin, the CEO of Tombola.
Underlining GVC’s commitment to safer gambling, a GVC issued the following statement: “Mr Alexander had planned to attend the hearing but due to business commitments, is now unfortunately unable to do so. At this stage, we do not have an executive available to stand in.
“With its ‘Changing for the Bettor’ strategy, GVC has made huge advances in the area of safer gambling and as a business, we are committed to driving up standards, protecting vulnerable customers and reducing the harm caused by problem gambling behaviours.”
GVC has already implemented measures to demonstrate its commitment to safer gambling, having declared its support for a so called whistle to whistle advertising ban in the UK, as well as calling for a total ban on broadcast advertising by operators.
The APPG hearing is the sixth in a series that have taken place since the inquiry into gambling related harms began earlier this year.
This overall aim of the inquiry was to “examine the full impact of online gambling, the addictive and potentially harmful nature of some of the products on offer and their effect on the vulnerable, in particular, children”.