Year on year, around 70% of callers to the National Gambling Helpline, operated by GamCare, mention some level of gambling debt or financial hardship. A gambler in financial hardship will likely come into contact with many different services when trying to address that harm, but the advice they receive could be inconsistent and may miss important information.
To address this, GamCare convened an expert project advisory group in November 2019, bringing together for the first time leading debt charities and agencies, high street banks and gambling businesses, and people with lived experience of gambling harms.
GamCare’s toolkit is aimed at giving organisations the tools to off er consistent, high quality customer communications about gambling risks, and improving access to support so that issues can be addressed as early as possible and don’t escalate. Anna Hemmings, CEO at GamCare, said, “People struggling with gambling present in different ways and oft en opportunities are missed to provide the support they need. Ensuring that frontline staff are equipped to help and refer to appropriate support is a huge step in improving the outcomes these customers experience. This toolkit, with the support of businesses, charities and gambling operators themselves, is vital to putt ing those pathways in place.”
Frankie Graham, CEO at Betknowmore UK commented, “Gambling-related financial harms have serious consequences for the gambler as well as those with a financial connection to them. The mismanagement of finances can trigger a cluster of problematic issues; from prevention of everyday functions, such as paying bills, to onset of mental health challenges, such as stress and anxiety.”
Maxine Pritchard, HSBC UK’s Head of Financial Inclusion and Vulnerability said, “We know this is a challenging time for many of our customers, with those who are struggling with gambling being particularly vulnerable. We are proud to have collaborated across multiple industries to develop this toolkit which will help ensure we can use it as part of the training we provide our colleagues, as well as building it into our internal procedures. We have already put in place a number of measures to help those affected by gambling, and this toolkit is another positive step to supporting those at risk of financial harm from gambling. We will continue to look at ways in which we can support customers with gambling addictions.”
The tool kit materials draw together best practice and are informed by the experiences of those who have been harmed by gambling as well as experts from each sector, so that they can tangibly improve customer interactions in future. The toolkit contains core customer messaging, referral pathway guidelines tailored to each sector, and guidance on training staff to give them confidence to support customers who are impacted by gambling harms. Together, these resources can help frontline staff in key industries provide effective, sensitive support to customers and ensure they receive the help they need.
Emma Gibbons, Vulnerable Client Manager at PayPlan, said “It has been a privilege working on this toolkit with GamCare, to help open up important conversations around gambling and debt. This project has allowed us to develop important guidance and communications for the benefit of vulnerable clients and the organisations that support them.”
Organisations that supported and participated in the project are:
- Betknowmore UK
- The Betting and Gaming Council
- Citizens Advice
- HSBC UK
- Lloyds Banking Group
- The Money and Pensions Service
- Santander UK
- Sky Betting and Gaming
- Behavioural Insights Team
- London Mutual
- Money & Mental Health Policy Institute
- Personal Finance Research Centre
- StepChange Debt Charity
- UK Finance
The toolkit is available for free on GamCare’s website via https://www.gamcare.org.uk/news-and-blog/news/new-toolkit-to-address-gambling-related-financial-harms/, and consists of tailored materials for the banking, debt advice and gambling treatment sectors as well as gambling businesses.