Entain’s Player Safety Initiatives See a Surge as ESG Commitments Intensify

The player protection programme, which was launched in 2021, has seen remarkable advancements over the past year. During this period, it was rolled out across 27 online jurisdictions out of a possible 34 markets. Additionally, a retail version of this programme was introduced across Entain shops in the UK and Ireland in 2023.

In the last 12 months, up to 742,112 customers have engaged with this player protection programme. Known as ARC, which stands for Advanced Responsibility and Care, the initiative leverages artificial intelligence to mitigate risks associated with gambling. ARC employs three distinct AI models designed to evaluate players’ risk levels, flagging or recommending various actions such as imposing payment method limits, monitoring unusual deposits, long session durations, and substantial withdrawals.

The tool is also equipped to provide safer gambling prevention and treatment programmes when problematic gambling patterns are detected. Throughout the year, a total of 8.7 million ARC interventions were recorded, marking a significant 98% increase from 2022.

Entain reported that ARC significantly contributed to the adoption of safer gambling controls in 2023. Among high-risk players, 98% implemented at least one control feature, while 65% of medium-risk players adopted at least one control.

As part of its commitment to Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) responsibilities, Entain also contributed £18.7m, or 1% of its Gross Gaming Yield (GGY) in the UK, towards research, education, and treatment (RET) for gambling problems in 2023. This donation aligns with the UK Betting and Gaming Council’s initiative from 2021, in which its five largest members, including Entain, pledged to raise their annual contributions to RET from 0.5% of GGY in 2020 to 1% in 2023.

“Our approach to sustainability is underpinned by our new corporate strategy, which outlines sustainability as a key enabler of long-term business success,” stated Jay Dossetter, the interim group head of sustainability, regarding the company’s recent report.

In 2023, Entain conducted a comprehensive review of its ESG efforts. Player protection and cybersecurity emerged as two of the eight key priorities identified.

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. The findings of this review were published as a list of challenges ranked by their relative impact on the company and its stakeholders. Cybersecurity was marked as the fourth biggest sustainability concern.

Heightened focus on security led to the launch of new security features in 2023, including multi-factor authentication for customers and AI-based systems designed to detect patterns of malicious activities and thwart attacks on customers. Entain also has plans to introduce a new AI policy this year, preparing for upcoming legislation such as the EU’s Artificial Intelligence Act.

According to the report, 3.2% of the firm’s technology budget was allocated to cybersecurity in 2023, a figure that had not been previously disclosed. The time required to address cybersecurity vulnerabilities decreased by 65% compared to 2022.

By the end of December 2023, 100% of Entain’s revenues originated from regulated markets, an increase from 99% in 2021 and 2022. Scrutiny of Entain’s activities in unregulated markets intensified following an investigation by His Majesty’s Revenue and Customs into its operations in Turkey, which compelled the company to exit markets without a clear pathway to obtaining licences.

In December, Entain held licenses in 34 jurisdictions and remained active in six territories—Austria, Brazil, Chile, Finland, Mexico, and Peru—where it anticipates securing domestic licences within the next two years.

Entain has also set bold environmental targets, aiming to reach net zero by 2035. The objective includes reducing Scope 1, 2, and material Scope 3 emissions by 90% by 2035, relative to 2020 levels. However, in 2023, the group’s Scope 1 emissions increased by 20% due to various acquisitions, while Scope 2 emissions rose by 10.6%.

“To ensure we are focused on the right issues, we refreshed our materiality assessment, aligning with the principle of double materiality,” explained Virginia McDowell, chair of Entain’s sustainability and compliance committee. “This helped us understand our unique sustainability-related risks and opportunities, and our impacts on society and the environment, by gathering input from over 250 internal and external stakeholders.”

Through these comprehensive efforts, Entain not only strengthens its commitment to responsible gambling but also aligns its operational strategies with broader environmental and social responsibilities, underscoring the vital role ESG plays in ensuring sustainable business success.