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Vulnerability

Life events or changes to an individual customer’s circumstances may mean that a person becomes more or less vulnerable to experiencing gambling harms. Those circumstances could include bereavement, loss of income or other factors, as follows.

It will not always be obvious or clear to an operator when such events have occurred, but knowing your customers, and ensuring staff ask questions when there are potential signs of vulnerability, will help to determine whether those individual circumstances present an increased risk.

As part of ‘know your customer’ and developing customer interaction policies and procedures, operators should consider the factors that might make an individual more vulnerable to experiencing gambling related harm.

Factors include:

  • personal and demographic - if the individual is experiencing poor physical or mental health, physical or cognitive impairment, suffering side effects from a brain injury or medication or has an addiction
  • situational - if the individual is experiencing financial difficulties, is homeless, is suffering from domestic or financial abuse, has caring responsibilities, experiences a life change or sudden change in circumstances
  • behavioural - if an individual has a higher than standard level of trust or high appetite for risk
  • market-related - if an individual is engaged in an activity which is highly complex; that they have a lack of knowledge and/or experience of the market
  • access - if an individual has difficulty accessing information because of poor literacy or numeracy skills, knowledge, dyslexia.

We have seen examples through our casework of customers who should have received some interaction but did not, including customers who were particularly vulnerable, and more susceptible to experiencing gambling harms.

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Affordability and customer’s personal circumstances
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Spotting harmful gambling
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