GamCare has released its guidance on tightening gambling blocking in banking systems as part of its Gambling Related Financial Harm (GRFH) program.
GRFH aims to bring together the expertise and knowledge of financial and gambling companies in order to collaborate, develop resources and deepen support in the area of financial risks associated with gambling.
In March, GamCare hosted a virtual GRFH workshop that brought together 67 participants to discuss ways for improving the gambling blocking in banking systems to better support vulnerable gambling-affected customers and empower banks to exceed blocking features to help those affected.
Participants and speakers at the event included representatives from the Financial Ombudsman Service, the Behavioral Insights Group, TSB Bank, the Betting and Gambling Council, and a person with personal experience of harm from gambling.
During the discussion, GamCare noted that many people seeking support only become aware of the possibility of a gambling ban when their problems are already escalating.
Jonathan, a delegate with personal experience of gambling harm, shared his opinion: “The gambling block offered by my bank has been the mainstay of my recovery, but more information is needed to raise awareness of bank gambling blocks, especially among those who are suffering from excessive gambling.
In its report, GamCare offers several key ideas and recommendations for blocking gambling in banking systems, divided into five main areas:
1. Raising awareness of the gambling management tools;
2. Initiating the gambling block;
3. Deactivating the gambling block;
4. Addressing loopholes in gambling blocks
5. Providing additional support to vulnerable customers.
GamCare expects banks to inform their customers well in advance of the availability of the gambling prevention tools. This is especially important for accounts that had already been marked as vulnerable.
There have been calls for the standardization of game block names throughout the industry. Deelan Maru of the Behavioral Insights Team emphasized that various banking applications have inconsistent game block naming conventions, introducing confusion and ambiguity for consumers.
The report also highlights the improvement in the game block activation and deactivation process. Banks must reassure their customers that activating these blocks will not have a negative impact on their credit rating or future applications. In addition, banks were called upon to develop mechanisms to block transactions with unlicensed or foreign operators and fix problem blocks that are not functioning properly.
GamCare recommends that banks provide additional support to vulnerable gambling customers. This may include placing limits on spending on gambling, offering additional gambling management tools, and referring clients to the National Gambling Hotline.
The Financial Ombudsman Service supported these recommendations, advising banks to continually test and monitor their gambling management tools and explore other support options to protect vulnerable customers.
The report concludes by highlighting GamCare’s commitment to creating a safer environment for gambling-harmed customers by providing effective insights and advice to banks and financial sector stakeholders.
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