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BCLC: Banks can play a leading role in harm prevention efforts


Canadian provincial lottery operator the British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) has issued a call for greater co-operation between the gambling industry and financial institutions to better protect consumers from gambling-related harm.

Speaking at the BCLC’s ninth annual New Horizons in Responsible Gambling, BCLC director of player health Jamie Wiebe said the operator was keen to encourage more dialogue between the two industries in order to offer more support to players.

According to Wiebe, if banks put in place tools to help customers control their behaviour, this will benefit gambling operators when developing their own responsible gambling strategies.

“Banks have an important role to play in helping gambling operators better understand the relationship between their customers’ spending and gambling behaviours, which helps the gambling industry enhance our tools in response,” Wiebe said.

“As the industry looks to support the health and wellbeing of our players overall, it’s critical that we engage with other industries in these important discussions that identify new learnings that help shape our collective approach.”

UK-based online bank Monzo is one financial institution to have put in place certain measures to help customers manage their gambling. In June 2018, the bank rolled out a blocking feature, allowing customers to self-exclude from gambling.

Using unique merchant codes provided by major credit card companies, Monzo’s blocking tool identifies when a customer attempts to make a gambling-related purchase, and prevents them from doing so.

In July last year, iGB reported that since the blocking feature went live in 2018, a total of 222,993 customers had utilised the tool and self-excluded from gambling in some form.

Speaking at the event, Monzo’s vulnerability manager Natalie Ledward agreed that banks have a role to play in identifying peoples’ spending habits, and that by putting in place certain measures, this could help prevent problem gambling in the future.

“Banks have the opportunity to be the first to find out about their customers’ gambling behaviours and can begin to offer those customers help,” Ledward said.

Simon McNair, policy advisor at the UK-based Behavioural Insight Team, which provides consumer insights to improve public services, argued that banks had already taken steps to guide customers’ gambling behaviour.

“Banks show a great degree of pro-activity already,” McNair said. “Controlling gambling behaviour, especially more problematic behaviour, is absolutely in-part a money-management issue.

“Helping customers to that end will have numerous benefits – from helping people to keep their accounts in good standing, preventing people falling into debt, or to helping them to pay down debt.”