There is a new program to be launched in UK where Gambling addicts will receive counseling from their local bank at selected branches of NatWest. NatWest will work together with problem gambling charity GamCare to give counseling sessions where they will start with 13 outlets across England and if it proves to be successful they will roll out to many more of the bank’s 700 branches throughout the UK.
Phil Sheehy, NatWest’s head of lending, stated that the program would offer an “accessible and neutral environment” to assist problem gamblers who may be uncomfortable going to an addiction center which can have a significant financial effect.
The development director at GamCare, Mike Kenward, said that banks were in a “phenomenal” position to help those impacted by problem gambling, a condition that affects around 0.7 percent of the population. He further said that the relationship between problem gambling and financial problems is well established, although not enough is known about it.
There will be provision of training by GamCare for NatWest staff to help support customers with gambling problems. Staffs are already engaging users who may be at risk when they identify tell-tale patterns on their statements, such as unusually large losses with bookmakers or online casinos.
Addicts are able to ban themselves from a large number of betting websites under the UK’s GamStop self-exclusion program. In 2019, according to Casino.org, the self-exclusion system contained “unacceptable” flaws and had “yet to see proper evidence of [its] effectiveness.”
Therefore, there is provision for another layer of protection and one that may be more effective by self-exclusion at the banking level.
Nicky Morgan said that the government has been clear to all businesses that have connections to gambling. They must be socially responsible and use the power of technology and data to help people manage their spending and protect them from gambling related harm. He stated that he will closely monitor NatWest’s progress and urge others in the banking sector to follow suit for the good of their customers.