GVC Holdings, the parent company for Ladbrokes Coral Group, has defended the group’s harmful gambling record following a BBC Panorama special on gambling addiction.

“Addicted to Gambling”, a special investigation into problem gambling from the BBC, casts a light on several cases of habitual gambling and looks at the existing issues surrounding the gambling industry. One case follows Tony, who stole £3 million from clients at his property firm in Dubai, before losing it all to UK online casinos. Panorama notes that Tony gambled a substantial amount of that stolen money at Ladbrokes. While UKGC licensed operators are required to have measures in place to spot problem gambling and possible money laundering, Panorama says that “Ladbrokes didn’t seem bothered” to check the source of Tony’s gambling funds.

Ladbrokes Coral was recently penalised for similar failings, with GVC being issued a £5.9 million fine from the UKGC following “systemic failures” in player safety. Again, the fines were focused on failures made prior to the GCV acquisition of Ladbrokes Coral in 2018, and the Group has introduced new player safety measures.

GVC Holdings reiterated that Ladbrokes Coral is working to improve its player safety measures. A statement to the Racing Post explains that the stories in the BBC’s report focused on Ladbrokes’ practices took place before the GVC acquisition. The company explains that since Ladbrokes Coral was acquired, the Group has “made significant investment, not only financial but also in human resources and technological advancements” in order to curb any further breaches of player safety”.

It wasn’t just GVC that spoke about the strides gambling operators have made in player safety over recent years. The Remote Gamblers Association explained that its members “have already introduced a range of measures to assure customers of a safe, fair and enjoyable environment”. It goes on to say that members are also “developing new affordability checks to ensure customers only bet what they can afford”.

The BBC investigation follows reports of a 5000% increase in customer complaints to UK gambling operators over the past five years. A collection of the UK’s biggest firms have introduced several initiatives in reaction to this growing customer dissatisfaction, with several firms agreeing to a voluntary 1% levy to funds for gambling charities.The UKGC is also ramping up its regulation, introducing new rules regarding the identification of problem gamblers and more. The new regulations will come into effect on October 31, 2019.

If you’re concerned that you, a friend, or family member may have a gambling problem you can find help at begambleaware.org. You can also get advice and support from a range of different UK gambling charities.