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The UK Gambling Commission’s (UKGC) Chief Executive Neil McArthur, underlined his belief in the importance of UK finance being part of a ‘multi-sector collaborative approach’ to tackle gambling-related harms. 

Enhancing the previous efforts to prohibit gambling with credit cards, the UKGC CEO addressed the ‘important role’ that the financial industry has to play in making gambling safer, adding that ‘there is always more that can be done’ to protect vulnerable customers.

Speaking at the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute conference, McArthur stated: “At the Gambling Commission we are determined to use all the tools at our disposal to make gambling safer. We have deliberately set out to disrupt old ways of thinking to raise standards for consumers. 

“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. If we are to achieve a lasting reduction in gambling-related harm, there must be a multi-sector partnership approach.”

The virtual event placed a key focus on the innovations within the financial sector, including the introduction of gambling blocking services, which stops a consumer’s bank account or debit card from being used for gambling transactions. 

The conference forms part of a two-year programme of work that Money and Mental Health is undertaking which will prioritise engaging the financial sector in efforts to reduce gambling-related harm.

He added: “We are still awaiting details of what the Government’s Gambling Act Review will look like and we will, of course, support the Government with our data, experience and expertise. But we will not wait for the Review’s outcome to make progress. 

“We will shortly be launching a consultation on customer interaction and how gambling operators should use affordability to keep their customers safer.

“We want to work in partnership with the financial sector to find innovative ways to reduce gambling-related harm. We all have a part to play to protect vulnerable consumers. The Gambling Commission has already banned gambling with credit cards, as evidence showed that it would reduce the risk of gambling harm to consumers. That was an important step, but there is always more that can be done.

“The financial sector has an important role to play. We have already seen the introduction by banks of gambling blocking software, together with the use of data to support customers affected by problem gambling.”