The Gambling Business Group, has endorsed the vision and objectives of NEXSTART, the National Exit Strategy Advice and Response Team for the licensed hospitality and entertainment industry which was officially launched this week.

NEXSTART, describes itself as a coalition of experts working together to identify issues, find solutions, contribute to guidance, and act as a resource to support a national strategy for the safe and successful exit of the industry from lockdown. Members include a broad range of influential organisations, trade bodies and expert groups which alongside the Gambling Business Group, include The Bingo Association, The Betting and Gaming Council, Local Government Association, Association of Leading Visitor Attractions, BEIS Licensing Expert Group, BEIS Gambling Expert Group, The Gambling Commission, Institute of Licensing, Greater London Authority, Visit Britain, UK Hospitality, Tourism Alliance, National Association of Licencing Enforcement Officers, British Beer and Pub Association, British Institute of Innkeepers and The Night Time Economy.

NEXSTART seeks to balance the needs of the public, business and enforcement authorities with GBG chief executive, Peter Hannibal, coordinating the gambling specific work which has started in earnest this week.

He believes that drawing on the insight and expertise of other organisations is crucial. “The important point for all of us is that we only have one chance to get it right on reopening” he said. “If we fail we could turn off customers for some considerable time and it could have cost us considerable time and money. The more we can learn from one another and shareinformation, the better chance we all have of success.”

Other benefits include a reduction in duplication of effort, access to additional information and expertise, a readymade consultation pool and rapid feedback, mutual reinforcement of key messages and the ability to liaise and seek early consensus with regulators.

He continued: “Much work has been going on with the drafting of ‘reopening protocols’ in all of the groups that we will be taking best practice tips and ideas from. These could be in the areas of alternatives to 2m social distancing, deploying hardware/additional screening and customer/people management. We will be advising the gambling implications/nuances and I have some notable operators advising my forum from all sectors including Gamestec/Playnation, Ladbroke Coral and Welcome Break. “The fundamental point of this is that we now have a single and powerful voice with which to communicate with the Chair of the Recreation and Leisure Task Force which can only be of benefit to the community of sectors that make up the broadly based and economically significant UK hospitality industry.”