Multi-sector approach to tackle gambling harm

The financial sector facing calls form the Gambling Commission to take more action in helping tackle gambling harm.

Gambling Commission

The chief executive of the Gambling Commission has invited the finance industry to join a multi-sector partnership approach to tackling gambling harm.

Neil McArthur discussed the role of the finance sector during his keynote speech at the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute’s virtual conference for financial service professionals, that took place at the end of September.

The conference forms part of a two-year programme of work Money and Mental Health is undertaking which is aimed at engaging the financial sector in work to reduce gambling harm.

Katie Alpin, Interim Chief Executive of the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute, said, “In recent years we’ve seen the financial services industry play an increasingly important role in supporting people affected by gambling problems – from the introduction of gambling blocks, to new advances in using customer data to identify and help those who are struggling.

“We want to work in partnership with the financial sector to find innovative ways to reduce.”

It is hoped that the conference will help galvanise firms from across the sector to build on success to date and go even further in improving support for customers adversely affected by their interaction with gambling.

Katie continued, “That could make a big difference to the two million adults across Britain whose gambling habits may be having a damaging impact on their financial and mental wellbeing.”

A virtual event this year, it explored the innovations led by the financial sector in recent years. This included the introduction of gambling blocking services (which stops a consumer’s bank account or debit card from being used for gambling transactions) whilst also exploring how further progress and innovation can be made in this space to drive progress in making gambling safer.

Speaking at the event Neil McArthur, chief executive, of the Gambling Commission said: “We want to work in partnership with the financial sector to find innovative ways to reduce gambling-related harm.

“We all have a part to play to protect vulnerable consumers. The Gambling Commission has already banned gambling with credit cards, as evidence showed that it would reduce the risk of gambling harm to consumers. That was an important step, but there is always more that can be done.

“The financial sector has an important role to play. We have already seen the introduction by banks of gambling blocking software, together with the use of data to support customers affected by problem gambling. Today’s event was an important opportunity for colleagues to look at how we can make gambling safer and I welcomed the opportunity to share our plans and priorities with professionals from across the finance sector.”

Funding for the programme was secured though a regulatory settlement approved by the Gambling Commission following an enforcement case.

Neil’s invitation to the finance sector follows the Gambling Commission’s Single Customer View challenge to the gambling industry and technology providers earlier this year, and is timely as outputs from GamCare’s Gambling Related Financial Harms Programme have also been announced.