ABSG Progress Report on the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms – Year Two
5 - Increased engagement from the financial services sector
The increased activity within the financial services sector is a key area of progress. It has the potential to contribute to align with the ‘whole systems approach’ to reducing gambling harms.
This activity is vital given the unique role this sector can play in reducing gambling harms and over the past twelve months progress has continued to accelerate.
Key areas of progress
Major banks, including Lloyds and HSBC, have established specialist support teams to identify and support customers with gambling addictions93. In addition, there has been an increase in the number of major banks introducing gambling blocks, as well as improvements to make these tools more effective. It is estimated that blocking software is now available to around 60% of personal current accounts and 40% of credit cards94.
The Money and Mental Health Policy Institute, funded by a regulatory settlement, delivered a conference for financial services firms to discuss and identify best practice in terms of protecting customers from gambling harms. Best practice guidance will be published later in 202195. This work helps join up activity from across the sector to help contribute to improved outcomes for consumers.
One major bank has collaborated in a major research project examining the associations between gambling and social, financial and health outcomes96.
The Financial Conduct Authority have published guidance for financial services on identifying vulnerability and have identified gambling as an additional factor in vulnerability97. This puts more responsibility on banks and lenders to be aware of customers spend on gambling.
GamBan have proposed the introduction of minimum standards for gambling blocking software, designed to ensure that all products are accessible, effective, responsive accountable and safe. The work to develop these standards was co-produced with people with lived experience and reflects best practise in standards development in health and social care98.
GamCare set up an Advisory group on Financial Harm which includes banks and advice and support agencies and launched a Gambling related Financial harm Toolkit in September 202099.
This activity across the financial services sector is positive and we look forward to seeing the industry build on this promising start in future years. It provides new opportunities for consumer protection and enhances the reputation of the financial services sector. There are valuable lessons here on the potential benefits of data sharing for the gambling industry.
93 Worth the gamble? HSBC UK increases gambling block feature to 72-hours (opens in new tab), HSBC, January 2021
94 Bank card blockers: a story of progress (opens in new tab), MMHPI, October 2021
96 The association between gambling and financial, social and health outcomes in big financial data (opens in new tab), Muggleton et al, Nature Human Behaviour 5, February 2021
98 Fundamental standards for blocking software: ensuring quality support for people impacted by difficulties with gambling, Vita CA, GamBan (opens in new tab), March 2021
99 Gambling Related Financial Harm (opens in new tab), GamCare (accessed 14 April 2021)
Improved profile of gambling harms as a public health issue Next section
Gambling is not yet fully integrated with local public health activity
Last updated: 28 June 2021
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