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Progress Report on the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms

ABSG progress report 2020

  1. Contents
  2. Involvement of financial services sector

Involvement of financial services sector

Engaging the financial services sector has been a significant positive development. Banks, including HSBC, Starling, Monzo, Halifax and Barclays are now offering customers the option of blocking gambling transactions47. NatWest has formed a partnership with GamCare to offer counselling services within its premises48. Other activities are being funded to further develop the preventative role that could be played by the financial services sector.

Case study 3: Money and Mental Health Policy Institute and the Personal Finance Research Centre49

The Money and Mental Health Policy Institute, funded by a regulatory settlement, is using its expertise to help facilitate actions in the financial sector to reduce gambling harms50. The project will draw together and disseminate best practice – this will be done through events and workshops, with best practice shared through a virtual hub.

In addition, GambleAware has provided funding to the Personal Finance Research Centre at the University of Bristol to establish the Money and Gambling: Practice, Insight, Evidence (MAGPIE). This will carry out research on the effectiveness of approaches used by the financial services sector to reduce gambling harms, and help develop the role to be played by this sector51.

Both projects have agreed a research partnership to ensure learning and activities are co-ordinated. The projects will explore how to build on existing responsibilities of financial services firms to help protect vulnerable customers and ensure organisations that are well placed to help people manage their money and avoid financial harm have the support and tools to do so.

There are a number of wider initiatives, such as the Vulnerability Registration Service52, which offer consumers the opportunity to opt out of contact from a wide range of services. This may have application in reducing gambling harms. There may also be further opportunities to explore lessons that can be learnt from data analysis in the financial services sector to identify where and how consumers become vulnerable to harms53.


47 Gambling restrictions, HSBC - Website

48 NatWest to offer help to gambling addicts in high-street branches, The Guardian, October 2019

49 Money and Mental Health to launch new project to help financial firms tackle problem gambling, Money and Mental Health Policy Institute, October 2019

50 Get involved in our new project to tackle problem gambling, Money and Mental Health Policy Institute, January 2020

51 Money and Gambling: Practice, Insight, Evidence (MAGPIE), University of Bristol, September 2019

52 Vulnerability Registration Service - website

53 Consumer Vulnerability, Financial Conduct Authority, February 2015

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