GVC Holdings has published a series of clips across its social platforms for Safer Gambling Week 2020 telling the story of John Hartson, former striker for Celtic and Wales and a recovering gambling addict. 

Hartson, now a Responsible Gambling Ambassador for GVC, tells of his personal relationship with gambling in the ‘Let’s talk about Gambling Addiction’ series. He stated that he was going through a divorce, drinking heavily, believed his career had come to an end and was coming to terms with his gambling addiction: “I was an addict for probably 10 years and not realising that I was.’

“On top of everything else I found out then that I had testicular cancer that travelled to my lungs and to my brain. I needed two brain operations to keep me alive. I should and probably could have died. It just wasn’t enough even getting cancer and beating cancer for me to beat this addiction of gambling. I was still thinking of gambling. That’s the key message really that you never quite realise or appreciate how deep you are getting into this.” 

The initiative aims to get more people talking about safer gambling looking at Hartson’s earliest gambling memories, gambling relationships, gambling addiction, getting help, safer gambling and gambling controls. 

Hartson stressed the importance that it is important for him not to say to people don’t bet, they need to be aware and bet responsibly. “Be aware of when it’s time to go and when it’s time to have your last bet and things like this and watch out for the danger signs, for the pitfalls.”

“I think the betting sectors now are doing some fantastic new projects. I think bookmakers look at the time, they look at the counts, they look at whether you can actually deposit money into an account. They limit the time that you spend betting on the internet. 

“I think the sectors and the companies. I think they are doing an awful lot now these days in 2020 that was ever there when I was growing up as a gambler. 

“For me, these restrictions on gambling and when the fun stops, stop, there’s never been a better five words to me in my life. When the fun stops no one wants to gamble and not have fun and it’s the anxiety, it’s the pressure you put on yourself. I do believe that bookmakers are taking control and they are trying to help people to gamble safely.” 

Last week GVC announced that it is piloting two new initiatives to enhance the Group’s Advanced Responsibility and Care safer gambling programme using the Group’s proprietary technology platform and behavioural play data to enable early intervention to improve player protection. 

The new partnerships with Future Anthem and Mindway AI, will complement these inhouse capabilities by utilising behavioural, neuroscientific and academic based algorithmic learnings to pioneer world leading harm minimisation solutions.

For anymore information on safer gambling be sure to check out safergamblinguk.org

GVC Holdings team up with John Hartson for #SGWeek20 initiative