GC: financial sector must help tackle gambling-related harm

The chief executive of the British regulator spoke at the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute’s virtual conference.
The chief executive of the British regulator spoke at the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute’s virtual conference.

The Gambling Commission’s chief executive Neil McArthur has said the financial sector must help the regulator gain a “single customer view”.

UK.-  Neil McArthur, chief executive of Britain’s Gambling Commission, has said financial services providers must do more to help combat gambling-related harm.

In a speech to professionals in the sector at the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute’s virtual conference, he said financial services providers’ collaboration was needed to gain a single view of a customer’s activity across all operators. 

Financial service providers were ideally suited to participating in the development of such capabilities because they already had a single view of their customers’ banking transactions, McArthur said.

He said: “The evidence we have from Experts by Experience suggests that opportunities to protect people are being missed because their financial transactions show spending with gambling operators that is not questioned.”

McArthur used the speech to promote a multi-agency approach to gambling-related harm. 

He said: “It is not the Gambling Commission’s Strategy. In fact, most of the elements of the strategy require action by others – for example: research programmes to broaden understanding of the problem and how best to tackle it, the development of appropriate clinical interventions throughout the country and education to prevent harm occurring.”

He praised many banks’ introduction of gambling block tools for customers as an example of how the sector can contribute to creating safeguards.

McArthur also defended the Commission from recent criticism from politicians and campaign groups, claiming they had a tendency to simplify complex problems. 

He said: “There are some who question the Commission’s approach but complex issues – and gambling related harm is a complex issue – require a wide range of perspectives and participants to solve them. 

 “There are no silver bullets here. It’s easy to come up with great soundbites – but real change takes hard work, collaboration and innovation in lots of different areas.”

He highlighted that the Commission’s interim Experts by Experience group had already provided strong insights on gambling-related harm.

He said: “What haunts me and drives me and my colleagues to do better and go faster is the fact that we estimate there are 340,000 people in Great Britain who are problem gamblers.

“That is far too high and whilst problem gambling rates are not increasing, they aren’t yet decreasing and that is what we want to see: a drastic reduction in the number of people being harmed by gambling.” 

The Gambling Commission will soon launch a consultation on customer interaction and affordability, as well as on game design. These follow its recent consultation on VIP schemes, which has led to the publication of new guidelines.

In this article:
regulation safer gambling UK