GamCare urges greater awareness of financial-related gambling harms

GamCare has called for industry stakeholders, as well as its treatment support, to raise awareness of financial-related gambling harms.

The UK-based charity’s plea comes as the UK enters the autumn months with newly-imposed COVID-19 restrictions. 

According to GamCare, around two-thirds of its annual callers cite gambling-related debt or financial hardship caused by such activities. 

Building on a key focus 

‘Gambling-related financial harm’ (GRFH) has been designated as a core focus area for GamCare. The charity last year collaborated with banks, gambling support services, debt advice organisations and gambling industry stakeholders to raise awareness about the issue.

The organisation’s work in the above respect has led to eight UK banks implementing gambling controls, which allow players to protect themselves from potential harm. Depending on the bank, this can be achieved either by restricting or completely blocking gambling transactions.

In a statement, GamCare said the below about tackling GRFH. 

“Our programme is a cross-sector initiative to share knowledge, develop resources and enable organisations to help affected customers as early as possible, so that harms do not escalate.

“Our Advisory Group includes representatives from all four sectors, as well as individuals with lived experience of gambling harms.”

New toolkit launched 

GamCare has released a ‘new financial toolkit’ in recent weeks, which is designed for financial institutions, gambling businesses and debt advice agencies. This kit will enable such establishments to provide additional support for individuals who have been impacted by gambling-related harms. 

The new toolkit launch is the first time that these industries have come together to “to address gambling-related financial harms in a unified way”. 

In relation to the new services that have been made available, GamCare has said the following. 

“Our Gambling Related Financial Harm Toolkit, is aimed at giving organisations the tools to offer 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.”

COVID-19 restrictions on the UK gambling industry

Although a full-scale lockdown on the level of spring and early summer has not been re-implemented, a number of new restrictions have come into force across the UK. In Central Scotland, casinos will have to close their doors again later this week – with restrictions lasting until at least 25th October. 

Hospitality venues are already being forced to close at 10 pm at the latest throughout Britain, with the casinos that are allowed to stay open included in this.

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