The UK Gambling Commission has renamed its Responsible Gambling Strategy Board (RGSB) as the Advisory Board for Safer Gambling (ABSG) to help reflect a sharper focus on safer gambling.
The ABSG will continue to provide independent advice to the Commission as the regulator works to implement its new national gambling strategy over the next three years, with the overall goal of reducing gambling harms in the UK.
This will include working with the regulator on the various research, education and treatment programmes required to support its strategy and any associated funding requirements. The new National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms is due to launch on April 25.
The name change coincides with the arrival of new chair Dr Anna van der Gaag, who takes over from Sir Christopher Kelly after six years in the role. Van der Gaag was announced as the body’s new chair in November of last year.
“Our new name reflects the need for greater clarity about everyone’s roles in the delivery of the new strategy,” Van der Gaag said. “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.”
Gambling Commission chief executive Neil McArthur 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.”
Earlier this week, ABSG said that the 2016-19 National Responsible Gambling Strategy achieved a number of key milestones, but ultimately failed to make as much progress as hoped in tackling gambling-related harm in Great Britain.
Since the strategy was published in April 2016, the RGSB said progress had been made in having gambling recognised as a public health issue, while work was being done to better understand and measure gambling-related harms.