The UK based gambling charity, GambleAware, has announced that betting and gambling operators have donated $4.5 million over the course of the first three quarters of the 2020-21 financial year.
The top donator from the betting and gambling industry was Flutter Entertainment. They donated a total of £874,000 in the first nine months of the financial year. Flutter is the holding company for a range of international brands and operations, including Paddy Power, Betfair, Pokerstars, Sky Bet, Sportsbet, FOX Bet, FanDuel, TVG, and Adjarabet. Many of the sports books that operate underneath Flutter offer odds on a number of esports.
Following closely behind, the operator that donated the second highest amount in the first three quarters of the financial year was Bet365. They donated £763,000, just over £100,000 less than Flutter Entertainment. Although, it should be noted that Bet365 has committed to donating a total of £1 million during the 2020-21 financial year. That would make them the top donor.
Like most British betting operators, Bet365 has its corporate headquarters in the UK and global offices in major gambling hubs like Gibraltar, Malta, Australia, and America. Much like the sportsbook’s underneath Flutter Entertainment, Bet365 offers odds on esports.
Casumo Services is a relatively new operator even in the online betting and gambling industry. It was only in the last five years that they received a licence from the UK Gambling Commission to operate in the UK. The company made two separate donations of £27,446 and £16,170.
As would be expected from a younger online betting company, they understand the importance of esports and offer odds on most of the major tournaments. In fact, they have even partnered with an esports organisation, Planet Odd. Planet Odd fields players in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Dota 2, and Hearthstone.
GambleAware has also received additional funding from regulatory settlements agreed between the industry and the Gambling Commission. They received £3 million from William Hill after the company settled with the UK Gambling Commission regarding harm prevention and money laundering failures.
Another £5.8 million came from Betway. This was part of an £11.6 million settlement that the company had reached with the UK Gambling Commission. They had been found to have breached a number of social responsibility and money laundering regulations related to high-spending customers.
The need for funds
These donations will go towards GambleAware’s safer gambling campaign. It is a two-year initiative that is currently running to raise public awareness of the risks associated with gambling. The initiative which was developed in partnership with the UK’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport will also see the operators contribute 0.1% of their gross gambling yield directly to GambleAware each year, to support its existing treatment commitments and to continue its independent research programme.
The funds will go towards treatment for problem gamblers as well as increasing the safer gambling messaging across their advertising, support dedicated campaigns, and review the content of all marketing, advertising, and sponsorship.
This sort of campaign is all the more important for operators who offer odds on esports in their sportsbooks. Regardless of the 28-year-old average age of the esports viewer, the fact that esports and video games, in general, have a younger audience means that many operators need to be at the top of their class when it comes to consumer safety.