Long-time GambleAware chief executive Marc Etches has announced that he will step down at the end of March 2021, having served ten years at the top of the problem gambling charity.
It’s a decision that will not disappoint many people in the industry; Etches was often caricatured as a bete noir figure, regarded as overcritical of the business and dismissive of its activities in the area of problem gambling. But there was no doubting his allure to the powers that be. Etches was eloquent, vocal and passionate – if not always on the side of reason and balance – and it worked. His raison d’etre was to elevate the status and income of GambleAware – it was a task he proved successful at.
Under Etches’ tenure GambleAware became the UK government’s commissioner of choice when it came to the administration and commission of state-funded gambling addiction treatment services.
This has resulted in a substantial increase in the charity’s annual funding: with the organisation maintaining at present £40m in active grants and having recently secured a £100m funding commitment from the Betting and Gaming Council.
“It has been an extraordinary privilege to serve as CEO for nearly a decade and I am enormously proud of the charity’s development and the contribution it makes, in partnerships with others, to keeping people safe from gambling harms,” Etches remarked. “With the prospect of a new era of increased funding and wider commissioning responsibilities, it is the right time for the charity to find someone with the skills and expertise necessary to take it into the next stage of its evolution.”
As is protocol, industry figures are required to say some nice things about imminently outgoing personnel and the BGC chief executive Brigid Simmonds took that role on. She stated that Etches had been “an excellent CEO.”
“During his tenure, the contribution from the gambling industry towards research, education and treatment of problem gambling has continued to increase, allowing GambleAware to expand the range of treatment services it provides across the UK,” she said. “