SBC News Marc Etches - RGT - Building Remote Responsibilities

Marc Etches – RGT – Building Remote Responsibilities

marcetches
Marc Etches – RGT

Having commissioned PwC to complete a two-phase research programme into the behaviour of remote gambling, with a view to indicate and shed further insight on gambling related harm and risks.

Marc Etches Chief Executive of the Responsible Gambling Trust (RGT), details the importance of the study for a changing and more challenging market

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SBC: With the recent emergence of the IGRG and the Senet Group, where does the RGT fit into the Eco system? Is there less pressure on you to be a spokesperson?

Marc Ethes:  RGT is an independent charity committed to minimising gambling-related harm by funding research, harm prevention and treatment services. To succeed RGT trustees believe that it is vital to engage positively with the gambling industry, including IGRG and Senet Group. RGT is wholly funded by the industry but it is not industry-led and neither is it a ‘spokesperson’.

SBC: This summer you announced £350,000 a year funding of the Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust’s (CNWL) National Problem Gambling Clinic. Given the huge and increasing tax burden on the industry at the moment, should the industry be funding the NHS directly?

ME: The amount spent with CNWL represents 6% of the £5.5million RGT will distribute for harm prevention and treatment this year (2015/16). RGT’s position is that NHS Foundation Trusts and all local health commissioning agencies ought to provide treatment and harm prevention services for problem gambling alongside services for those struggling with alcohol- and drug-related problems, particularly for those with more complex problems. However, there is a need to educate and encourage this broader sense of community responsibility and RGT hopes that the funding provided to CNWL will help to achieve this as well as supporting an important and unique resource for individual recovery.

SBC: The recently announced research programme into online gambling behaviour will see pwc take a lot of its data from Canada. Are you confident this will translate to a British player base? Is data on problem gambling easily extrapolated to other geographies?

ME: RGT has commissioned PwC to complete a programme of research into remote gambling behaviour exclusively among British-based players utilising data provided by companies operating in Britain. The Responsible Gambling Council of Canada will work with PwC to ensure that the project is expertly informed in relation to reviewing the international literature, identifying characteristics of harmful behaviour and designing intervention studies to test mitigation strategies.

SBC: Is there a recognition from Government into how long research takes given the media pressure on politicians to make changes yesterday?

ME: RGT has put in place robust governance procedures to ensure both the independence and the quality of all research it commissions. The Gambling Commission, its advisors the RGSB, and the DCMS all observe the research commissioning and delivery processes to help ensure a good understanding of the timetables involved.

SBC: How much of an issue is the recent industry consolidation? Are you having to revisit your funding strategies?

ME: RGT is always vigilant of the dynamics within the British gambling industry, assisted by having five trustees that actively work in the industry. Our funding strategy remains the same, that is we will continue to ask all those that derive income from the British gambling market to donate a minimum of 0.1% of gross gambling yield annually.

SBC: How effective have your charitable treks been? Are they more useful for raising awareness than money?

ME: RGT has raised more than £170,000 from its three international treks in the last two years, and it hopes to raise a further £75,000 from its next trek back to Mount Kilimanjaro in February 2016. However, the opportunity for RGT to be better known and understood across the British gambling industry is an equally important objective.

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Marc Etches – Chief Executive – Responsible Gaming Trust (RGT)

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