The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has called on the country’s finance industry to play a vital role in reducing gambling-related harms. 

Chief Executive Neil McArthur wants a multi-sector partnership to address gambling issues, building on the work done over this year. 

Multiple financial institutions in the UK have added gambling block options to consumer accounts over the past couple of years. 

“We want to work in partnership with the financial sector” 

McArthur spoke at the Money and Mental Health Policy institute conference, which forms part of a two-year gambling harm reduction project. The UKGC Chief had the following to say at the event. 

“We want to work in partnership with the financial sector to find innovative ways to reduce gambling-related harm. 

“We all have a part to play to protect vulnerable consumers. The Gambling Commission has already banned gambling with credit cards, as evidence showed that it would reduce the risk of gambling harm to consumers. That was an important step, but there is always more that can be done. 

“The financial sector has an important role to play. We have already seen the introduction by banks of gambling blocking software, together with the use of data to support customers affected by problem gambling.” 

Finance companies in the UK will continue to play an essential role in enhancing player safety 

Eight banks in the UK offer a tool to block gambling transactions, with 60% of account holders in the country able to put some friction between them and unwanted habits. These barriers are in addition to the credit card ban implemented by the UKGC in April.

Kate Alpin, Interim Chief Executive of the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute, also shared her thoughts on this week’s conference.

“In recent years we’ve seen the financial services industry play an increasingly important role in supporting people affected by gambling problems – from the introduction of gambling blocks to new advances in using customer data to identify and help those who are struggling. 

“We hope that today’s conference will help galvanise firms from across the sector to build on this progress, and to go even further in improving support for customers experiencing gambling problems. 

“That could make a big difference to the two million adults across Britain whose gambling habits may be having a damaging impact on their financial and mental wellbeing.”

Gambling charities have urged financial institutions to further-improve player protection 

Although most of the UK population has access to gambling transaction blockers, 28 million account holders in the UK still do not have the choice to block these kinds of payments. 

In July, UK-based charity GambleAware urged banks in the country to introduce more stringent player safety features. Research conducted by the University of Bristol revealed that of the eight British banks with gambling controls, three made it easy for individuals to toggle these off without much resistance.