Gambling Commission calls on financial sector to do more to tackle gambling harm

The UK Gambling Commission has called upon the financial sector to do more to help tackle gambling-related harms.

The Gambling Commission has called upon the finance sector to take more action when it comes to tackling gambling harm.

During a keynote speech at the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute’s virtual conference, chief executive of the Gambling Commission Neil McArthur, invited the finance industry to join a multi-sector partnership approach to crack down on gambling harm.

This comes after Lords Select Committees have urged the government to enforce stricter conditions that cover the financial harms that come as a result of gambling addiction in the upcoming overhaul of the 2005 Gambling Act.

Commission calls on finance sector to do more

While speaking at the virtual conference, the CEO of the UK regulatory body addressed the important role that the financial sector has to play when it comes to making sure gambling is safe.

The conference is part of a two-year programme that Money and Mental Health is carrying out with the intention of engaging the finance sector to help reduce gambling harms.

The event placed an emphasis on several innovations within the finance sector as well as the introduction of gambling blocking services. These gambling blockers allow customers to block gambling transactions.

Speaking at the virtual event, McArthur 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.”

With the impending overhaul of the Gambling Act looming ahead, McArthur also explained that the Commission cannot wait for the outcome of the review in order to make progress.

McArthur added: “We are still awaiting details of what the Government’s Gambling Act Review will look like and we will, of course, support the Government with our data, experience and expertise. But we will not wait for the Review’s outcome to make progress. 

“We will shortly be launching a consultation on customer interaction and how gambling operators should use affordability to keep their customers safer.”

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 hope that today’s conference will help galvanise firms from across the sector to build on this progress, and to go even further in improving support for customers experiencing gambling problems.

“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.”

GamCare and GambleAware call for the finance sector to do more

Earlier this month, the gambling addiction charity, GamCare, urged the government and business community leaders to raise awareness of gambling-related financial risks as the UK enters the winter months under further coronavirus restrictions.

In the summer, industry charity GamebleAware also raised concerns over the practices and safeguards implemented by UK banks to stop gambling transactions.

The charity called on the government, financial institutions, and regulatory bodies to ensure all consumers have the ability to block gambling transactions after a study found that 28m personal bank accounts do not have access to this function.

GambleAware would aim to issue a “blueprint of safeguards” to UK Finance and the Financial Conduct Authority to recommend the best practices the finance sector can adopt to help protect customers.

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