GamCare, the nation’s leading provider of free information, support and advice for people affected by problem gambling, requested new changes to reduce gambling with credits, loans or overdrafts.
Additional measures needed against gambling with loans, credits
On Tuesday, the charity responsible for gambling released a new report highlighting that currently there is little to prevent players from using loans or overdrafts to gamble. This comes despite the ban on the use of credit cards for gambling that was put in place in 2020. Citing data from a recent survey by YouGov, GamCare pointed out that 46% of participants admitted to being very worried about their financial situation. At the same time, GamCare acknowledged that inflation is expected to average 9% this year, according to data from the Bank of England. Combine rising inflation with easy access to loans or overdrafts to use for gambling puts many people at risk, warns charity.
“Currently, few barriers remain to prevent consumers from using other forms of borrowing such as overdrafts, loans, cash withdrawals or riskier types of borrowing such as payday loans and credit card transfers to play,”
reads a statement released by GamCare
Changes in the lending industry are needed
According to GamCare, certain actions may be taken by lenders who will eventually reduce unaffordable loans. The charity recently completed a special brainstorming workshop which included representatives from the lending industry, including gambling support services, debt support, regulators and policy makers among other institutions.
Ultimately, the workshop called for action in three main categories. This urged for changes in the lending industry which include employee awareness and training. These employees need to better understand the harms of gambling and its impact on their customers, the workshop found. The second major change would be to “apply a gambling risk lens”, particularly when credit products are involved. Although GamCare recognizes that financial institutions are not gambling experts, they can still spot an increase in gambling spending and establish methods to intervene and identify these customers. This, according to the charity, can be accomplished by working with other charities or people with harmful gambling experiences.
“This signals an opportune time for lenders to review the recommendations from our event and consider other innovative ways to prevent unaffordable credit and gambling-related debt,”
Last but not least, GamCare noted that those affected by problem gambling or at-risk gamblers may benefit from more friction. GamCare pointed out that reducing automated credit increases or overdrafts can benefit problem gamblers. Presentation time delays between credit card application approval and access to cash can also help consumers affected by gambling harms.