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Gamstop appoints new chair

| By iGB Editorial Team
Jenny Watson will bring in independent directors before planned launch later this year

Gamstop insisted today (Tuesday) that it plans to press ahead with its formal launch later this year after Jenny Watson was confirmed as the new chair of the organisation’s National Online Self-Exclusion Scheme.

The arrival of Watson, a former chair of the UK’s Electoral Commission, will spark a raft of changes to board positions in advance of the full launch, Gamstop said.

“My immediate priorities will be to recruit additional independent board members and to put in place an initial evaluation of the scheme following the first six months of operation, which will help Gamstop’s future development,” said Watson, currently the chair of The House of St. Barnabas, as well as the Portman Group’s Independent Complaints Panel.

However, although there is still a need to bring in new board members, Gamstop is anticipating a formal launch “to take place soon” despite delays since the initiative was first unveiled nearly 16 months ago.

The UK’s new national online self-exclusion scheme, supported by the Remote Gambling Association, was revealed in June 2017.

A formal launch was initially earmarked for before the end of last year, before in December the target date was postponed until spring 2018.

“The formal launch of the scheme is due to take place later this year and will focus on raising awareness of the scheme amongst consumers,” Gamstop’s head of operations, Katie Reynolds-Jones, told iGamingBusiness.com.

“Gamstop has actually been live since April of this year and since then there has been a significant uptake in the volume of consumers registering with positive responses from operators and consumers alike.

“We are not currently publicising these figures ahead of the formal launch which is due to take place soon. It is however a significant number and the feedback so far has been overwhelmingly positive.”

Reynolds-Jones, who did not elaborate on the reasons for the delays in the formal launch so far, added that “exact numbers have not yet been identified” for the independent board director roles. However, she added that they would have “specific skillsets and experience to further develop the governance and values of the scheme”.

The scheme will enable UK consumers to exclude themselves via a single website process from all online gambling operators that are licensed by the Gambling Commission.

The website will also set out other measures that are available to help people manage their gambling and will signpost specialist advice and support services for those who might benefit from it.

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