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Ahead of the publication of the new National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms, the Gambling Commission has announced that its independent advisors, the Responsible Gambling Strategy Board (RGSB), has been renamed as the Advisory Board for Safer Gambling (ABSG).

The ABSG will provide independent advice to the Commission as it works to implement the new strategy over the next three years and ensure progress is made on reducing gambling harms.

Following the announcement last November, new chair Dr Anna van der Gaag CBE has today taken over the position from Sir Christopher Kelly who has come to the end of his tenure after six years in the role.

Anna van der Gaag, said: “I would like to thank Sir Christopher for his tremendous leadership and I am delighted to be taking forward the work at this exciting time of change. Our new name reflects the need for greater clarity about everyone’s roles in the delivery of the new strategy.

“Gambling harms are rightly recognised as a public health issue and I welcome the Gambling Commission’s new strategy with its strong focus on both prevention and treatment.

“As the ABSG, we will be bringing a renewed focus on the safety of consumers and prevention of harm, helping to ensure consumers are free from the consequences of gambling harms, that research priorities are high up the Commission’s agenda, and that we are listening and working closely with all our partners.”

Neil McArthur, chief executive of the Gambling Commission, added: “We need to shift the focus from ‘responsible gambling’ to ‘safer gambling’. Responsible gambling suggests that the individual customer is principally in charge of keeping themselves safe. By focusing on safer gambling we want to emphasise that there is a clear onus on gambling operators to protect their customers.

“The ABSG, led by Anna, will continue to provide the crucial advice we need into the long-term delivery of the new National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms which launches later this month.”

Further changes took place on the ABSG board earlier this year with consumer protection specialist Louise Baxter joining in January on a three-year term.

The ABSG provides independent advice to the Gambling Commission on research, education and treatment programmes needed to support a national gambling strategy and associated funding requirements.

The National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms will be launched by the Gambling Commission on 25 April.

Notes to editors:

  1. Anna van der Gaag is Visiting Professor of Ethics and Regulation at the University of Surrey. A former Chair of the Health and Care Professions Council, with wide ranging experience in health and legal regulation, she is a non-executive director at Sussex Partnership Foundation NHS Trust and the Academic Health Science Network for Kent Surrey and Sussex. She was awarded a CBE in 2015 for her services to the health and care industry.
  2. Louise Baxter has a background in consumer protection and chairs a Home Office taskforce which works to prevent vulnerable people becoming the victim of scams. She was awarded an MBE in 2017 for her work protecting vulnerable consumers from financial abuse.
  3. Dr Simon Tanner, board member and public health specialist, has also seen his contract extended on the ABSG until 31 March 2020.
Posted on 01 April 2019