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Business banks encouraged to prevent transactions to gambling firms

Wednesday 12th June, London, UK – Banks should consider blocking transactions from business bank accounts to gambling companies to protect more businesses and self-employed people from financial issues, according to the gambling support charity GamCare.

GamCare, which operates the National Gambling Helpline, is hearing of cases where business cards are being used to gamble, creating significant issues for both individuals and businesses alike.

A recent workshop, organised by the charity, heard from one business owner who said she lost her business because her son, who handled the company finances, was able to gamble using the business debit card. Despite thousands of gambling transactions, neither the bank, bank manager or company’s accountants questioned the activity.

PayPlan, one of the leading debt advice providers in the UK, says that their self-employed clients with gambling issues are likely to experience greater levels of debt.

Additionally, the Business Debtline, a charity that provides free debt advice to small businesses across the UK, are seeing how gambling can negatively affect businesses, making it more difficult for them to trade and, in some cases, leading to the closure of businesses.

GamCare recommends four key actions that banks which offer business accounts can take to protect businesses and people working for these businesses from gambling harm:

  • Staff training and awareness - To ensure staff are trained to recognise gambling harm and bank managers are confident to discuss gambling transactions on the account, and can signpost clients to gambling support if necessary.
  • Blocking gambling on business accounts – To consider blocking gambling transactions – this has already been done for credit cards and under-18 bank accounts.
  • Transaction monitoring to identify gambling harm – To monitor business transactional data to spot harmful gambling on accounts and flag them for further intervention.
  • Intervention and support – To let customers know about the free gambling help and support, and provide resources and education about the risk that gambling issues could potentially have on their businesses.

Raminta Diliso, Financial Harm Manager at GamCare, commented: “Gambling harm can be a very hidden issue and it is worrying to hear that some people are financing their gambling through business funds. Business banks need to be aware of the risks of allowing transactions to gambling companies - both for the businesses and for the people running these businesses. Following our event, we have made some practical recommendations so banks can prevent British businesses and people from gambling harm.”

About GamCare   

Founded in 1997, GamCare is the largest provider of information, advice and support for anyone experiencing gambling harms in Great Britain, whether their own gambling or someone else’s. 

GamCare operates the National Gambling Helpline, a free, confidential service that people can call on 0808 8020 133, access via live web chat or directly message on Whatsapp, funded by GambleAware. Over 52,000 calls and online chats were made to the Helpline last year and Advisors are available 24/7, every day. 

The charity is also part of the National Gambling Support Network, funded by GambleAware, which is a group of organisations across Great Britain who provide free, confidential and personalised support for anyone who’s experiencing problems from gambling, as well as those affected by someone else’s gambling.