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Entain Betfred Flutter Join GC Industry Forum Led by Nick Rust, OBE

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The Gambling Commission (GC) has appointed nine members to its new Industry Forum. Nick Rust OBE will serve as the chair.

Rust was previously the chief executive of British Horseracing Authority for six years. He will be appointed chairperson of Industry Forum in November 2023.

Rust’s two-year tenure will include a forum with Ashley Padgett as director of anti-money-laundering and compliance at Flutter UK&I, and Leo Walker as customer operations director UK&I for Entain.

Other UK leaders in the gambling industry will also be present. Mark Pearson, Betfred’s Head of Media, and David Williams, Director of Public Affairs at Rank Group, have been invited to join the forum.

Charles Cohen will be joining Tony Boulton from Merkur UK, who is the director of Public and Political Relations, as well as Betsmart Consulting’s founder and director Kirsty Cadwell. Charles Cohen also serves in the capacity of chief executive of Department of Trust, a UK-based gambling technology and financial company, and he has been a non-executive board member at Games Global.

Helen Walton, g.games’ founder and chief business officer, has also been appointed. Nigel Roddis is the managing director at Britbet.

Rust announced that there were over 40 people who wanted to be part of the Forum before the 21st March meeting.

Rust said, “It’s hard to believe that I left out so many of them. But the experience and quality of these appointees is excellent.”

The aims and objectives of the GC Industry Forum

First announced in September of 2023, the Industry Forum is a new initiative. The GC said the new initiative would give the Commission more insights into operator’s views on different topics.

Three aspects were discussed: the perspective of the operators on the GC plans, the way the Commission serves the industry and the consumers, and finally an understanding into the business practices of operators.

This forum will be working in collaboration with other stakeholder engagement groups and initiatives. The Commission’s Lived Experience Advisory Panel, and Advisory Board for Safer Gambling are among them.

GC’s evidence-based approach

This Industry Forum represents another move by the GC towards a more evidence-based approach. Rust hoped it would provide “insights that the Commission could draw on to evolve and improve their performance as a regulator”.

The Gambling Survey for Great Britain released its first data wave in late February. The GSGB is an annual survey that will include 20,000 respondents. The GC is looking to improve their data processing, so this project will be one of the biggest gambling data research initiatives in the world.

The GC published a paper on evidence gaps and priority areas in May 2023. This document covered the period between 2023-2026. The document outlined the Commission’s intent to conduct evidence-based studies on topics like gateway gambling products, gambling harms and gambling effects.

In the first wave of the GSGB, 48% had played in the previous four weeks. The prevalence of the lottery caused this number to drop from 48% when only lottery players are excluded. More than a fifth (or 4,800) of respondents only participated in lotteries.

Next release of GSGB data is scheduled for 27 June 2024. This will include a deeper investigation into gambling behaviours and participation. Second wave of responses will be from 6 November to 7 March, 2024.

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