All change at Ibas with new site and board alterations

All change at Ibas with new site and board alterations

Wednesday, January 17, 2018 Posted by Craig Davies
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Managing director Richard Hayler details the changes

The Independent Betting Adjudication Service (Ibas) has announced the launch of a new website as well as unveiling numerous changes to its board.

Andrew Fraser, an Ibas director since 2014, is to become the firms new chairman, after previously serving as a consultant under its founding chief executive Chris O’Keeffe, and as a member of its Adjudication Panel between 2008 and 2014.

Fraser will replace Michael Messent, who retired from the Ibas board at the start of the year.

Two other new board members have also been appointed by Ibas, with Elaine Smethurst and Michelle Parkes taking their places this month.

Ibas, the gambling-specialist Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Service, has also debuted a revamped website, which it gave a soft launch in November of last year, with a variety of new changes introduced.

Richard Hayler, managing director of Ibas, has been speaking to about these changes.

Totally Gaming: Why decide to revamp the Ibas website? And what benefits will this bring?

Richard Hayler: It was clear that the old site needed refreshing, from a content and functional point of view, but the challenge was deciding where to pitch a new site. On one hand the volume of disputes has increased year on year and the profile of complaints and disputes within the industry has grown – so we wanted something that could adequately deal with the increased interest in this area – but at the same time we recognise that a) we’re a not-for-profit organisation, funded by registration fees and b) by and large, most people will only visit our site when they need us. So we wanted a site that provided the right amount of helpful and current information but without too many bells and whistles.

There are a number of functional benefits that the site will eventually bring. From Q2 this year, we anticipate that consumers and operators will be able to manage disputes through the site, submitting any evidence, responding to any questions from our panel and receiving the ruling, all in a private, password-protected section of the site.

In terms of content, I hope that everyone can use the site to find out more about who we are and the way we handle betting and gaming disputes. We had received some criticism for a lack of transparency. Some of that was not fair; after all, betting and gaming transactions are meant to be confidential and so that is the way we have gone about handling disputes – but some of the criticism was reasonable and so we have tried to be more open about what we are and how we make decisions.

TG: How will you continue to develop and enhance this new site moving forward?

RH: We have a few plans and I hope visitors will see them gradually introduced during the course of the year. Personally, I feel that a lot of recent media coverage about betting and gaming has given a skewed perspective about what the industry is. The theme of much of it has left the impression that gambling operators typically treat customers badly.

We exist to help where that is true, but on balance I feel that it leaves an unfair impression. The vast majority of gambling transactions take place without any difficulty or complication. I would like to use the media section of our site to allow people from both sides of the fence to talk about the issues that do cause problems but also to reflect that these activities are meant to be fun and – I hope – are for the majority of people, most of the time.

TG: In addition to the website, changes have been made to the board, what benefits do these bring?

RH: Michelle Parkes and Elaine Smethurst both bring helpful and relevant experience and valuable fresh perspectives to the Board. Michelle provides us with valuable insight into the workings [of] government administration and an alternative perspective on adjudication processes.

Elaine’s experience running a leading charity, helping those who have been unable to control their gambling, would be a great asset at any stage, but all the more so given that the Gambling Commission appears to be reviewing the role that alternative dispute resolution plays now, and might play in the future, in dealing with complaints from individuals that gambling companies have acted irresponsibly.

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