Money and Mental Health, a charitable organisation aimed at changing the fact that people with mental health problems are more susceptible to debt, are running a two-year programme to engage the finance sector to reduce gambling-related harm.
As part of this programme, the UK’s Gambling Commission Neil McArthur was given the role of keynote speaker at the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute’s virtual conference for financial service professionals. McArthur used his airtime to address the sector’s role when it comes to tackling gambling-related harm.
MMHPI’s Virtual Conference
In reaching out to the financial sector, Neil McArthur is inviting the industry to take part in what would be a multi-sector partnership aimed completely at reducing gambling-related harms, something the betting world has hitherto been held solely responsible for.
Betting is close to becoming almost exclusively an online pastime, and with that, any related harm is an online problem. With that in mind, the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute’s conference should have been a virtual event this time around.
The event touched on innovations that have been promoted by the finance sector in recent times, including the introduction of gambling blocking services. These services stop players’ bank accounts and debit cards from being used for betting purposes.
The virtual event also explored how more progress can be made in the relative sectors to foster even more progress in making the gambling world a safer one.
Gambling Commission Chief’s Main Points
In what could prove to be a very important keynote speech by Neil McArthur, if one that may go under the radar of most casual gamblers, his main points were:
- The Gambling Commission wants to work in partnership with the financial sector to find innovative ways to reduce harm
- Everyone involved has a part to play in protecting vulnerable consumers
- A reminder; the Gambling Commission has already banned betting with credit cards
- Despite the credit card ban being an important step, there is always more the GC can do
- The financial sector has an important part to play
- Acknowledgment; banks have already introduced gambling blocking software and data support
Naturally, it wasn’t all about what the Gambling Commission’s chief executive had to say at the virtual event, as his counterpart at the Money and Health Policy Institute also spoke.
Kate Alpin, the interim chief executive, was at pains to point out that we have seen the financial sector playing an increasingly important role in supporting the cause in recent times.
Not only have they introduced the aforementioned gambling blocks, but they have also promoted new advances in the way customer data is used to identify those who are showing signs of harm.
Alpin also said that she felt the conference would galvanise companies from across the sector to build on the progress we’ve already seen while perhaps going even further in improving support for customers with gambling-related problems.
Progress Important If Sector Wide
It goes without saying that identifying those with gambling-related harms remains hugely important.
However, as we’ve pointed out multiple times before, the blocks and processes put in place should be sector-wide. For example, a player cannot place a football bet or play poker in the UK using a credit card, which is great, though one can buy as many lottery tickets and scratch cards via this method as they like, and that remains very dangerous.