Invitation extended to the financial sector to do more to tackle gambling harm

Neil McArthur, Chief Executive of the Gambling Commission has today (13 October 2020) delivered a speech at the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute’s virtual conference for financial service professionals, in which he invited the finance industry to join a multi-sector partnership approach to tackling gambling harm.

David Clifton commented on the need for such a partnership approach in an iGaming Business article in March 2020 when, in advance of the ban on use of credit cards to fund online gambling, he said:

…… just as important will be the fact that banks and other financial institutions are playing their part in protecting customers from encountering problem gambling issues. This means confidence and trust will develop and some degree of common ground can be found between all stakeholders. This should lead to more collaborative projects, reduce in-fighting and benefit the sector across the board.

Reporting on McArthur’s speech (that can be downloaded below), the Commission has said:

Gambling Commission calls for more action from the financial sector to help tackle gambling harm

The chief executive of the Gambling Commission has today 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.

The conference is 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.

A virtual event this year, it explored the innovations led by the financial sector in recent years, including 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.

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

Neil McArthur, Gambling Commission chief executive, 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.”

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.”

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. The project, running with support from the ICO, seeks to find a way of producing a holistic view of a customer’s gambling help reduce gambling harm, particularly where customers have multiple online accounts.

We reported in February 2020 on the above-mentioned “Single Customer View challenge” in our website posting entitled “Gambling Commission “single customer view” initiative kicks off” that you can access here.