Entain Plc is planning on improving safety and support structures of its interactive entertainment projects as the company aims to implement lessons learned in other sectors to safeguard the growth of its wider customer base.
Through its not-for-profit Entain Foundation, the Group plans to build on work initiated with partners in the US to help video gaming and esports players in the UK and Europe at potential risk of harm.
As exclusively revealed to SBC News, Entain said that it is extending the scope of its work with external partners to provide education and support across additional areas of interactive entertainment, further strengthening player protection for its customers.
The investment underlines Entain’s greater focus on customer wellbeing and underlines the ambitions of CEO Jette Nygaard-Andersen to be more than just a gambling operator, but one that can provide entertainment across a wider range of verticals.
Grainne Hurst, Director of Safer Gaming and Regulation at Entain, said: “Our business is all about understanding and meeting the needs of customers, which means offering the most entertaining experiences whilst doing everything we can to protect them. At the core of our approach to sustainability is our belief that delivering the highest possible levels of player safety and protection is the best way to guarantee our long term success.”
Working with a number of important partners in the area of player protection, the Foundation will extend its work to help educate and support people enjoying a wide range of interactive entertainment in the UK and Europe.
Initially this will consist of the launch of “Mind Your Game” in the UK with Game Quitters, a support community for victims of gaming disorder. The Mind Your Game initiative was developed with additional support from Kindbridge, a teletherapy company focused on the treatment of gamblers and gamers suffering mental health issues. The Entain Foundation is sponsoring a social media educational initiative to raise awareness of potential addiction.
‘Mind Your Game provides players and their families with facts about the mental health challenges faced by gamers including specific issues to be aware of tips and strategies to reduce potential harm and advice on how to find support. A series of educational videos is available on YouTube: Skin Gambling Esports Betting Spot the Problem and Seek Help.
There will also be a greater provision of education and support for people at risk of online addiction and gaming disorder in video gaming and interactive entertainment with EPIC Risk Management, the international consultancy specialising in the prevention of gambling harm and the Counter-Strike Professional Players Association, which represents professional players across esports.
Last year, Entain launched a Sustainability Charter with four cornerstones including leading on responsible gaming and investing in people and communities. To achieve this, Entain promised to invest £100 million in the Foundation by 2025 to include educational and support projects.
Entain is advised by Dr Mark Griffiths as Distinguished Professor of Behavioral Addiction and Psychology, who holds the same position at the University of Nottingham. Dr Griffiths has studied addictive behaviors for over 30 years and was part of a team whose work prompted the World Health Organisation to recognise Gaming Disorder as a mental health condition for the first time in June 2018.
Griffiths and academics from Harvard Medical Faculty School of Addiction are working with Entain on a five year research project to improve understanding of addictive behaviours. In addition they form part of an advisory panel that Entain claims contains world leading academics to advise on its pioneering, proactive technological approach to personalised player protection called ARC (Advanced Responsibility and Care).