GamCare has urged its treatment support and wider stakeholders to raise further awareness of ‘gambling-related financial harm’ (GRFH) as the UK enters its autumn months as COVID-19 restrictions are enforced across the country.
Year-on-year, GamCare reports that around 70% of callers to its National Gambling Helpline will reference a level of gambling debt or financial hardship caused by gambling.
GRFH has been marked as a key area of concern by GamCare, working with diverse stakeholders to better identify problematic consumer behaviours, whilst improving support for those who are enduring financial hardships caused by gambling.
In 2019, GamCare brought together banks, debt advice organisations, gambling support services and the gambling leadership to collaborate and broaden understanding of GRFH issues.
Progress on GRFH has seen eight UK banks add ‘gambling block’ services to their digital current accounts, allowing consumers to block or restrict transactions with gambling operators.
“Our programme is a cross-sector initiative to share knowledge, develop resources and enable organisations to help affected customers as early as possible, so that harms do not escalate,” read a GamCare statement. “Our Advisory Group includes representatives from all four sectors, as well as individuals with lived experience of gambling harms.”
GamCare calls for wider recognition of GRFH issues follow the launch of its ‘new financial toolkit’ for financial institutions, gambling businesses and debt advice agencies across the UK to offer further support for customers experiencing gambling-related harms.
Addressing GRFH concerns, GamCare seeks to improve recommended stakeholder guidance for gambling-related debt whilst improving how operators use data to identify and assess customer affordability.
The launch of the toolkit marks the first time that representatives from across these industries have come together ‘to address gambling-related financial harms in a unified way’.
GamCare added: “Our Gambling Related Financial Harm Toolkit, is aimed at giving organisations the tools to offer consistent, high-quality customer communications about gambling risks, and improving access to support so that issues can be addressed as early as possible and don’t escalate.”