Responsible Gambling Trust asserts its independence

Responsible Gambling Trust asserts its independence

Wednesday, June 22, 2016 Posted by Andy McCarron
Kate Lampard CBE has joined the Responsible Gambling Trust

The Responsible Gambling Trust (RGT) has underlined its independent stance by appointing a new Chair of the Board of Trustees without any ties to the gambling industry in the shape of Kate Lampard CBE. Lampard replaces Neil Goulden, who was strongly associated with the betting industry after heading up Gala Coral and the Association of British Bookmakers.

The organisation, which raises funds from the gambling industry to spend on treatment, research and education around problem gambling, has recently come under criticism for perceived dependence on the industry – a charge that the RGT strongly refutes.

Two weeks ago the Charity Commission dismissed as ‘unsubstantiated’ complaints about the Responsible Gambling Trust made by two lobbying groups - the Campaign for Fairer Gambling and Rethink Gambling.

The whole situation angered chief executive Marc Etches: “We have always been totally transparent about industry funding and relationships. We believe they put us in a stronger position to help people with gambling problems and prevent gambling related harm in the first place.

“The damaging implications in the media, and in subsequent complaints to the Charity Commission, that these relationships undermined our independence are something that trustees have taken extremely seriously.”

Lampard was appointed following an ‘open and rigorous recruitment process’ conducted over the last four months. The selection panel comprised a representative nominated by the Gambling Commission, an independent recruitment adviser and the RGT’s senior independent Trustee, Professor Jo Wolff.

A former barrister, Lampard has recently headed independent investigations into allegations of sexual abuse by Jimmy Savile in NHS hospitals, and into allegations of abuse at Yarl's Wood Immigration Removal Centre.

As a result of this appointment, for the first time the RGT Board now has a majority of Trustees who are wholly independent of the gambling industry.

Lampard commented: “The Responsible Gambling Trust plays a vitally important role in enhancing our understanding of harm arising from gambling and the best ways to tackle it. I look forward to working with our research, treatment and gambling industry stakeholders to address the evolving challenge of minimising gambling related harm.”

Goulden added: “I am delighted to be succeeded by an extremely impressive, high calibre individual with a proven track record in dealing with contentious matters impartially and authoritatively.  I am confident the industry will wish to support her and the RGT, continuing to contribute what is now over £7 million a year for research, education and treatment to reduce gambling-related harm.”

Totally Gaming Says: “With the independent trustees on the Responsible Gambling Trust now outnumbering those from the industry, the Trust should now be able to get on with doing its work – that of raising and distributing funds for problem gambling research, education and treatment. The Charity Commission’s judgement showed that it already considered the RGT to be clear of undue industry influence, but the need to be perceived as ‘whiter than white’ in political circles means this latest appointment was a sensible one.”

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