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Researchers call on banks to help reduce gambling-related harm

Researchers call on banks to help reduce gambling-related harm

UK charity GambleAware and researchers from the University of Bristol are calling on financial services firms to take part in a programme looking into how technology, such as spend blockers, can help people struggling with gambling problems.

Over the last two years, several UK banks - including Barclays, Lloyds Banking Group, NatWest, Monzo and Starling - have introduced 'gambling blocks', which let customers prevent spending on a bank card at gambling outlets, both online and in-person.

The new, three-year programme being run by Bristol University's Personal Finance Research Centre and GambleAware will initially look into the effectiveness of these blocks and how their potential could be maximised.

It will then seek to find other way that banks, lenders, e-money firms and credit reference agencies can support customers struggling with the financial consequences of gambling.

Among the ideas up for investigation are the use of apps, budget planners and other money guidance tools for financial self-help, as well as the feasibility of a ‘single gateway’ for credit self-exclusion.

Professor Sharon Collard, programme lead, says: "We’re looking to work with a wide range of stakeholders, including financial services, to come up with some real tangible solutions to benefit everyone and I would urge such organisations to get in touch.

"Firms such as banks and lenders have a duty to support their most vulnerable customers and - given the intricate links between money and gambling - are well positioned to make a real difference to the lives of those affected by problem gambling."

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