GamCare, the leading national provider of information, support, and free counseling for people affected by problem gambling, urged further changes toward reducing gambling with credits, loans, or overdrafts.
Additional Measures Needed against Gambling with Loans, Credits
On Tuesday, the responsible gambling charity released a new report outlining that currently, there’s little to prevent gamblers from using loans or overdrafts to use for gambling. This comes despite the ban on credit card usage for gambling that was implemented back in 2020. Citing data from a recent survey by YouGov, GamCare pointed out that 46% of the participants admitted they are very worried about their financial situation. At the same time, GamCare acknowledged that inflation is expected to hit an average of 9% this year, according to data by the Bank of England. Combining the growing inflation with the ease of access to loans or overdrafts to be used for gambling puts many people at risk, the charity warns.
“At present, there remains little 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 transfers from credit cards for gambling,”reads a statement released by GamCare
Changes in the Lending Sector Are Needed
According to GamCare, some actions can be taken by lenders that will ultimately reduce unaffordable lending. The charity recently completed a special insight workshop that included representatives from the lending sector including gambling support services, debt support, regulators, and policymakers among other institutions.
Ultimately, the workshop called for action in three main categories. It urged for changes in the lending sector that include raising awareness and training the employees. Those employees need to better understand gambling harm and how it impacts their customers, the workshop found. The second important change would be to “apply a gambling harm lens,” especially when credit products are involved. Although GamCare acknowledged that financial institutions aren’t gambling experts, they can still spot increased gambling spend and establish methods to intervene and identify such customers. This, according to the charity can be accomplished by collaborating with other charities or people with lived experiences of gambling harm.
“This signals an opportune moment for lenders to consider the recommendations that arose from our event, and to think about other, innovative, ways to prevent unaffordable credit and gambling-related debt,”explains GamCare
Last but not least, GamCare noted that people affected by problem gambling or at-risk gamblers can benefit from more friction. GamCare outlined that reducing automated credit increases or overdrafts may benefit problem gamblers. Introducing time delays between credit card application approval and access to money can also help consumers affected by gambling harm.