Harding’s new political role

07/02/2018

In a key realignment of its UK senior management, Germany’s Gauselmann Group is moving Nick Harding to a new mainly political role – the first of its kind by a private company in the British market.

Harding, currently CEO at Praesepe, the Gauselmann subsidiary with nearly 200 adult gaming centres, FECs, bingo clubs and an online casino, will gradually relinquish that role. He is now Gauselmann’s senior advisor for the British business activities of the group.

The new position will see him assume responsibility for “political and association work and public relations for all operating subsidiaries of the group in the UK.” Harding will move into a new office in London, reporting directly to company founder Paul Gauselmann and working closely with management board member Manfred Stoffers, who heads up marketing, communications and political affairs.

In the new role he will work closely with all of the top management at the German parent company and at political level he will advise and represent the UK companies – Blueprint Gaming, Regal Gaming, Betcom and Praesepe.

Harding has over 35 years’ experience in the gambling sector. He established Praesepe as a public company in 2007 and it quickly became a leading operator of adult gaming centres in the UK. It was acquired by Gauselmann in 2012. It is his long experience in the British gaming market coupled with his years in leading positions communicating with lawmakers for the gambling sector that led to Harding being targeted for this unique new role by the Gauselmann Group.

He is a past president of BACTA, the UK trade association, and currently sits on the advisory panel of the charity GambleAware. He was a director of Business in Sport and Leisure and is a director of the UK Bingo Association. He was also the founding chairman of iGGBA, the country’s first interactive gaming association. He has been chairman of the Gambling Business Group since it began in 2013.

Having played a leading role in the development of regulation and helping to introduce fresh thinking into the UK market – the development of TITO is a good example – Harding is an ideal candidate to be the industry’s first independent statesman.

Critical to his role will be to help the company and the jurisdiction influence and assist politicians and civil servants to frame and implement legislation. He will, for example, be the company’s “point man” in dealings with the British Gambling Commission.

“We are delighted that with Nick Harding we have been able to enlist a long-time colleague who is a recognised expert in terms of the company, the industry and the relevant legislation for the realignment of our political and public communication activities in the UK,” said Paul Gauselmann, company founder and chairman of the management board of the family-run Gauselmann Group.

“We are confident that the experience he brings to the job will enable him to inject fresh momentum and generate beneficial synergies for all operating subsidiaries in Britain. We wish him all the best in his new role.”

Of his new role, Harding said: “The move from an operational business to my new role is a challenge I am very much looking forward to. In the light of the anticipated changes in gaming machine regulation in the UK, engagement at a political and federation level will be more important than ever in our industry. It’s time to set the course for a successful and sustainable future and I am delighted to be part of the process.”

by David Snook

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