GambleAware, the problem gambling charity, has partnered with the University of Bristol, on a new research project, where they will be examining how UK banks and other financial services organisation can help people surfeiting with or who are at risk of gambling-related harm.
Researchers from the university’s Personal Finance Research Centre (PFRC) will now be working with GambleAware on a three-year programme, which will be looking into the current measures banks have in place in order to combat problem gambling – along with what more can be done as a way to protect customers.
Staff will be engaging with people who are affected by problem gambling, as well as those who are working in the gambling and financial industries, treatment and support organisations, as a way to explore ways to mitigate financial losses and other harms inflicted by risky gambling behaviour.
During the first six months of the initiative, researchers will mainly focus on the effectiveness of current gambling blocks and how their potential could be maximised.
Other areas which are being focused on throughout the project could include practical guidance for financial services organisations about how to support those customers affected by gambling, as well as identifying effective financial self-help for gamblers, and the feasibility of a ‘single gateway’ for credit self-exclusion.
Professor Sharon Collard of the PFRC, who is leading the programme, said: “We know that people in recovery from problem gambling already use informal workarounds to prevent themselves from spending money on gambling, such as forfeiting their card to a third party or scratching off the card security number.
“The new solutions from banks, however, allow customers to do this more formally – and, possibly, more successfully,” she explained. “But at present there is limited evidence about the effectiveness of such spending controls, nor about the characteristics of those who use them.
“We’re looking forward to working with a wide range of stakeholders – especially those with lived experience of problem gambling – to come up with some real tangible solutions to benefit everyone.”
Dr Jane Rigbye, director of education at GambleAware, added: “We want to prevent people from getting into problems with their gambling and we welcome the proactive steps that some banks have taken to protect their customers.
“People must be able to gamble in a safe environment, so we are pleased to be commissioning this project to determine how financial organisations can best protect people from gambling harm.”
The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the National Problem Gambling Clinic in London have also declared their support for the new programme.
“We welcome this new research, which aims to support initiatives to protect vulnerable consumers from harm,” Christopher Woolard, executive director of strategy and competition at the FCA, said. “We look forward to the outcomes with interest.”
Dr Henrietta Bowden-Jones, consultant psychiatrist in addictions and director of the National Problem Gambling Clinic in London, commented: “The financial services sector can play an important role in helping create a safer environment for people with gambling problems, for example by making it easier for individuals to limit their gambling spend.”
GambleAware have come to launch a number of initiatives in recent months, as an effort to clamp down on problem gambling while securing greater protection to players.
Last week saw GambleAware connect with digital family life specialist, Parent Zone on a new initiative which has been designed to educate families about the potential risks children face while playing online video games.
Other recent activities have included rolling out the second wave of activity for its Bet Regret gambling campaign, with support from GVC Holdings. GVC, the parent company of Ladbrokes Coral Group, is donating branding rights from its football sponsorship deals to the next wave of activity.