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Board minutes for 10 September 2019

Meeting details


Marjorie Sykes,
Friends House,
173-177 Euston Road,


10.15 – 14.00


  • Louise Baxter (LB)
  • Shane Carmichael (SC)
  • David Forrest (DF)
  • Anna van der Gaag (AVDG) (Chair)
  • Ian Gilmore (IG)
  • Hermine Graham (HG)
  • Rachel Lampard (RL)
  • Simon Tanner (ST)
  • Heather Wardle (HW)

In attendance:

  • Helen Rhodes (HR)

Staff names other than the Leadership Team have been redacted.


  • Marc Etches (ME)

Actions and status

Minutes and actions

Apologies and declarations of interest

AVDG welcomed Board Members to the meeting and apologies were noted for ME.

There were no declarations of interest and the Board were informed that the updated Register of Members’ Interests has been uploaded onto the ABSG website.

Minutes and matters arising from 10 July 2019: ABSG 19 04 (01)

The minutes of the previous meeting were approved and there were no matters arising.

AVDG gave Board Members an update of the progress on actions from the previous meeting, informing them that the recruitment adverts for new Board Members, with a focus on public health and children and young people, are now live.

It was noted that the Gambling Commission are developing a plan to improve engagement with experts by experience and other key stakeholders in the National Strategy for Reducing Gambling Harms. ABSG will develop processes to allow it to support the development of these networks. The former RGSB Advisory Group will be discontinued and replaced by these new structures.


Draft short paper summarising stakeholder engagement activities for the National Strategy and processes for ABSG to support these.

AVDG informed Board Members that meetings have taken place with the Digital Advisory Panel Chair and that the Commission Board will be meeting in October to discuss next steps on work to improve collaboration between different expert advisory groups.


To continue work developing plans to co-ordinate the work of the Gambling Commission advisory groups.

Share details of upcoming induction sessions for new Board members so other Board members can attend to refresh their knowledge.

Introductions, Chairs’ Update and Horizon Scanning: ABSG 19 05 (02)

AVDG set the scene for the meeting and reflected on events and meetings that have happened since the last Board meeting.

Board members noted the announcement that Lord Chadlington will chair an independent committee to decide how improve allocation and distribution of funding for treatment and prevention activities.

On horizon scanning, the Board noted that some payments for gambling are facilitated through mobile phone bills, and engagement will be needed with these providers alongside the engagement with banks and credit card companies to ensure that consumers receive protection via other forms of payment besides credit card use. Board Members asked about implications for gambling resulting from the 5G roll out.

Closed session: 4NLC Player Protection: ABSG 19 05 (03)

Board discussed player protection issues with the team implementing the Fourth National Lottery Competition. Details of the discussion are redacted because of the commercial sensitivity of this topic.


ABSG was asked to provide a note documenting their views on the player protection issues discussed on the Fourth National Lottery Competition for the Gambling Commission to consider further.

Online harms: ABSG 19 05 (04)

(REDACTED) introduced the paper on online harms as an opportunity for the Board to review and agree upon the updated draft before it is submitted to the Gambling Commission.

Board members discussed the pros and cons of offering lifetime self-exclusion. The Board agreed that a balance needs to be struck between what is currently achievable with existing technology and what could be possible in the future.

There were areas where the Board thought the paper needed to be strengthened, with recommendations on actions the Gambling Commission could implement within a shorter timeframe. The Board were particularly keen to see more work on new arrangements for stake and prize limits for online gambling.

LB raised the issue of welfare benefits being spent on online gambling and suggested that it should feed into the engagement with financial institutions and other methods of payment. The Board discussed the potential for algorithms to detect this, and other similar forms, of gambling that could be harmful.

Ways of Working Conflicts Policy: ABSG 19 05 (05)

AVDG introduced the paper as an opportunity to update the conflicts policy and specified that the proposed changes were fundamentally about achieving transparency and making sure that the Boards values are reflected in its policies.

The main issue of concern was the role of active researchers on the Board. It was noted there were advantages to having researchers on the Board as they are likely to have specific knowledge of what is happening and could provide valuable information when ABSG are asked to advise on a topic. However, conflicts can result from these researchers having insight on the Gambling Commission’s work, as well as the issue of conflicts which arise over funding sources.


It was agreed that more discussion was needed in order to reach agreement on a revised conflicts policy that balanced these considerations appropriately. There was broad agreement that this issue needed to be resolved.

(REDACTED) introduced the paper and explained the approach the Gambling Commission is taking to a submission to the Howard League on crime and gambling. The Board were asked to consider the key points AVDG should highlight when she meets the Howard League’s Commission on Crime and Gambling in November.

HW observed there were no recommendation on treatment needs for those in prison. The Board also asked about the extent the review will draw on evidence from people with lived experience.

ST suggested that the review is broadened to include all associations between crime and gambling harms, and not just problem gambling – which implies a narrower scope.

National Strategy Gap Analysis: ABSG 19 05 (07)

The key focus for this discussion item was identifying gaps in the implementation plan. It was noted that there were items that covered more than one area but were just mentioned in one priority or enabler area. It was agreed that there are pros and cons to this presentational issue but it was best to avoid duplication.

The Board suggested that the implementation plan should highlight more on the Commission’s role and what it is planning to deliver the National Strategy.

Any other business

The Gambling Commission’s Governance team have plans in progress to schedule a Board to Board meeting.

Dates for ABSG 2020 Board Meetings are to be scheduled.

Quarterly Research Brief: update: ABSG 19 05 (08)

This paper was provided for information.

Safer Gambling Team: Update Report: ABSG 19 05 (09)

This paper was provided for information.

GambleAware: Update Report: ABSG 19 05 (10)

This paper was provided for information AVDG thanked those who had prepared the update reports and noted their value to the work of the Board.

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