“Gamble With Passion, But Don’t Lose Your Head Over It” — Martin Lycka from GVC

GVC’s New Partnership with Harvard and Lessons Learned from Mistakes Made in Europe’s Gaming Market

Martin Lycka is the Director of Regulatory Affairs at GVC Holdings. Today, he’s discussing his company’s interest in addiction research and responsible gaming as well as how the new United States sports betting market can learn from the European market’s mistakes.  

Exchanging Data with Harvard Medical

In the United States, GVC is currently involved in a five-year partnership with Harvard Medical School’s Division on Addiction

Within this partnership, GVC provides Harvard with customer data that Harvard can then use in their research. GVC’s customer data is gathered just as any other online gambling or retail gaming customer information is collected. In order to gamble, individuals are obligated to provide licensed gambling operators with identifying information and confirm their source of funds. Essentially, you can’t gamble if the operators don’t know who you are or if you have money to play with.

GVC also collects data related to customer betting transactions, with which researchers are able to glean the behavioral patterns of individual customers or customer groups. This is the same information that helps prevent money laundering and match-fixing in sports betting.

Lycka explains that his company intends to take advantage of the study’s conclusions and apply them to their campaign to champion responsible product design – one pillar of GVC’s own safe gaming program, titled “Changing for the Better.” 

Learning from Europe’s Mistakes

In the past, the UK market suffered from a series of sports betting issues. Lycka explains that their industry should have been better prepared to make concessions at the beginning of the process, and now invites US regulators to learn the good, the bad, and the ugly from the existing European experience.

Lycka adds that both the regulators and the industry have a lot to learn from one another, and for them to not communicate would be a big mistake.

“If we believe we have a solution we can offer – not only to the regulators but also to the outside world – we should try to be a little bit more forthcoming in terms of proposing that solution,” says Lycka.

The Importance of Education

In the future, Lycka hopes that there will be further education available to the public beyond the simple concept of responsible gambling. He believes that the best starting point is to explain the basics of industry products, whether they stem from the casino or from sports betting. 

Because sports betting is so new in the United States, consumers should become immediately familiar with details of the process on the granular level: how odds are set, how customers can open accounts, what verification processes are required (such as Know Your Customer), and what anti-money laundering processes are in place. 

Ensuring a Successful Market

Lycka emphasizes that it’s fine to “gamble with passion,” but it’s also important to not “lose your head over it.” In other words: have fun, but don’t allow yourself to get in too deep. 

“I truly believe in collaboration, and there are lots of great folks out there: that if they pool together we can ensure that the newly-regulated US market will be a success on all accounts.” Martin Lycka

Lycka believes that the US industry will succeed when it equally values entertainment and customer safety. “In terms of final thoughts – as I’ve already said, I truly believe in collaboration, and there are lots of great folks out there: that if they pool together (and we have already started doing that) we can ensure that the newly-regulated US market will be a success on all accounts.”

Get in contact with episode guest Martin Lycka via LinkedIn. You can also follow him on Twitter or find him on SBC News, where he’s a guest editor. 

Listen to Martin Lycka discuss responsible gaming on the NO LINE podcast by clicking here.


●      GVC Holdings

●      GVC’s joint venture with MGM

●      “Changing for the Better” safer gambling campaign

●      Harvard Medical School’s Division on Addiction

●      Match-fixing in sports betting

●      “What the U.S. can learn about legalized sports betting from the U.K.”(article)

●      “What Can the US Learn from European Sports Betting?”(article)

●      How sports betting odds are set

●      Know Your Customer

Responsible Gaming Education Week

Responsible Gaming Education Week (RGEW) was created by the AGA in 1998 to increase awareness of problem gambling among gaming industry employees and customers and to promote responsible gaming nationwide.

The AGA and the entire gaming industry realize that education is essential to promoting responsible play and increasing awareness of gambling disorders, and RGEW provides gaming companies with an opportunity to expand on work they do every day educating employees and patrons about the issue.

About Sightline

Today’s modern casino gaming industry is anything but modern — it’s one of the largest cash-based industries on the planet with hundreds of billions of dollars used as the medium of exchange, resulting in unnecessary hassles, risks, and costs. Sightline is on a mission to change this — building the gaming world’s first truly cashless ecosystem with its flagship solution Play+

Named “Most Innovative Gaming Technology Product of the Year,” Play+ allows consumers a cashless and seamless, mobile commerce experience for hospitality and gaming; including, online, mobile, on-premise slots, tables games, and sports. The Play+ digital platform is embraced by integrated casino resorts, sports betting, and lottery platforms, including the largest and most well-recognized casino resort and sports betting brands. Sightline is based in Las Vegas, Nevada.

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