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Board minutes 18 November 2021

Venue: Victoria Square House, Birmingham, and via Zoom

Time: 08:00 - 14:00


  • Louise Baxter (LB)
  • Shane Carmichael (SC)
  • Cath Cooney (CC)
  • Anna van der Gaag (AVDG) (Chair)
  • Hermine Graham (HE)
  • Philip Newall (PN)
  • Ulla Romild (UR)
  • Jane West (JW).

In attendance:

  • Tim Livesley
  • Andrew Rhodes (Item 4)
  • Joanne Higgs (Items 6 and 7)
  • Tim Miller
  • Zoe Osborne (notes).

1. Welcome, apologies and declarations of interest

AVDG welcomed Board Members to the meeting, noting that this was the first in person meeting of ABSG since lockdown began in March 2020. Philip Newall joined the meeting remotely from Australia and advised that he would be returning to the UK later in the month.

There were no new declarations of interest.

2. Minutes and matters arising from September 2021

The minutes were reviewed and agreed.

3. Introductions and aims for the day

The Board discussed the agenda for the day, noting that their advice to the Commission on the Gambling Act review was nearly complete. The review, changes in leadership at the Commission, and the scheduled end of the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms were key points for the Board to consider in looking at the development of their role and remit.

4. Discussion with Andrew Rhodes, Interim CEO, Gambling Commission

The Board met with Andrew Rhodes, Interim CEO for a wide-ranging discussion on the role of ABSG, the future direction of the Gambling Commission, and the challenges ahead. Items discussed included:

  • industry non-compliance and the challenge of new developments
  • the need for simple and clear facts to support informed choices
  • the role of operators’ reputations in influencing consumer choice compared to other sectors
  • disruption activities
  • resource challenges and the opportunities of the Gambling Act Review.

5. Adapting to new challenges and opportunities

Cath Cooney facilitated a session for the Board to consider questions about their ways of working and outputs.

The Board agreed to share further thoughts on developing ABSG and ensuring that the Board and its work

6. Breakout sessions

Board members separated into groups to look at the treatment and prevention elements of the National Strategy.

7. Discussion on the Progress Report

ABSG discussed the headlines, direction and next steps for the progress report on Year 3 of the National Strategy to reduce gambling harms. Board members held an informal discussion with Tim Miller over lunch focused on the National Strategy and their aspirations for the work.

8. AOB

None noted.

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