Banks Encouraged to Help Problem Gambling
GambleAware, the body that helps fund solutions to problem gambling, has teamed up with the University of Bristol to produce new research inspecting just how the UK’s banks and other financial institutions could help people suffering from gambling addictions.
A three-year programme has been started, teaming GambleAware up with researchers from the university’s Personal Finance Research Centre. Together they will look at the present measures banks put in place to attempt to stop problem gambling from their perspective and investigate what more can be done to protect such customers.
The new team will attempt to engage with those affected by problem gambling in the past, along with those working within the gambling and finance sectors. Treatment and support organisations will also be included in order to explore ways to alleviate financial losses form gambling, as well as other harms the problem causes.
In its first six months, researchers will aim for the initiative to focus firstly on the effectiveness of gambling blocks already in place, such as Gamstop for instance, and see how their potential could be increased for maximum effect.
Other targets for the project include, but are not limited to, practical guidance for banks and financial services on how to support customers affected by bad online gambling, as well as pinpointing proper financial self-help including the potential feasibility of a single gateway for credit self-exclusion, i.e. one action that can stop those in trouble signing up for loans or credit, as well as to an online gambling company.
GambleAware Education Director Aiming at Prevention, Not Cure
GambleAware’s director of education, Dr Jane Rigbye, has said recently that she is looking to prevent people from getting into trouble with their gambling habits in the first place, and she indeed welcomes any proactive steps banks take to protect their customers.
Dr Rigbye added that she believes people should be allowed to play if they wish, but must be able to gamble in a safe environment, meaning she is pleased to be commissioning this latest project in order to ascertain just how financial organisations can help to protect people from gambling related harm in the future.
Other Organisations Showing Support
The FCA, the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority, along with the National Problem Gambling Clinic (NPGC) in London have also registered their interest in and support for the new joint project.
The NPGC’s director and consultant psychiatrist, Dr Henrietta Bowden-Jones, spoke recently to say that she feels the financial services industry can play a big role in helping to create a safer environment for those showing signs of gambling addiction, including making it easier for them to limit their spending with such companies.
GambleAware have certainly been busy in recent months, launching a range of initiatives in order to try to clamp down on problem gambling and assure better protection for players.
In September, the organisation linked-up with digital family life specialist Parent Zone to develop a new scheme aimed at educating families on potential risks facing children when playing online games.
As well as this, GambleAware has also rolled out the second wave of its Bet Regret campaign which is aimed at safer online gambling. This has been done with the support of GVC Holdings, parent company of Ladbrokes Coral, which is donating branding rights from its own football sponsorship deals to the activity.