The Institute for Money and Mental Health Policy Issues Guidelines for Banks on the Harmfulness of Gambling

The Money and Mental Health Policy Institute has released new best practice guidance to help banks step up efforts to support customers who are struggling with the harms associated with gambling.

The new guidance sets out a number of ideas on how financial institutions can better identify risks and then support users in managing their financial situation.

The report was developed in collaboration with financial services professionals and is also based on testimonies from people who have had a lifetime of gambling-related harm.

The report identifies three key areas where banks can make the most difference to their at-risk clients.

The first is to develop a supportive culture and ensure staff are fully aware of the nature of the harms associated with gambling.

Second, how to ethically use customer data to determine if they are at risk of gambling addiction.

The final goal was to empower at-risk customers by guiding them through appropriate support structures with external parties, as well as implementing transaction blocks and cost controls.

Helen Undym, CEO of the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute, said she was pleased to see banks implementing prevention strategies, including blocking transactions, but that there was still room for improvement.

She said: “Banks still have important opportunities to build on this progress and increase support for those at risk.

"We hope this guide can provide firms with the practical advice and insights they need to take the next steps in improving customer support, no matter how advanced they are or not."

Tim Miller, Chief Executive of UKGC, added: “This guide outlines useful ideas and steps companies can take to help protect those at risk, based on the progress they have made in recent years.

“We hope this will help financial services companies continue to have a significant impact in reducing the financial and other damage that can result from gambling problems,” he concluded.