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Press release

RGSB Renamed to reflect sharper focus on safer gambling

01 April 2019

Responsible Gambling Strategy Board (RGSB) renamed as the Advisory Board for Safer Gambling (ABSG).

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.

Note to editors

  1. The Responsible Gambling Strategy Board was set up in late 2008 to advise the Gambling Commission and, in turn, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, on research, education and treatment programmes needed to support a national responsible gambling strategy and associated funding requirements.
  2. The Gambling Commission regulates gambling in the public interest alongside licensing authorities. It does so by keeping crime out of gambling, by ensuring that gambling is conducted fairly and openly, and by protecting children and vulnerable people from being harmed or exploited by gambling. The Commission also provides independent advice to government on gambling in Britain.
  3. Journalists can contact our press office on 0121 230 6700 or email: communications@gamblingcommission.gov.uk

For all media enquiries, please contact the Gambling Commission press office.

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