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GamCare calls for cross-sector partnerships to tackle gambling harm

| By Robert Fletcher
British charity GamCare has published its latest recommendations for addressing gambling related debt, urging more cross-sector partnerships to help reduce gambling harms.
Diversity & inclusion

In November, GamCare hosted the second in a series of Gambling Related Financial Harm (GRFH) workshops exploring gambling debt, with this event looking at how different sectors can better support clients’ gambling related debt.

The session brought together more than 60 attendees and featured expert speakers from Bristol University and Lloyds Banking Group, debt advice organisations Citizens Advice, PayPlan and StepChange, as well as speakers with lived experience of gambling related debt.

Looking at cross-sector support, attendees discussed how support should meet the unique needs and communication preferences of each client. In terms of help and support pages and content, it was agreed that these should include information about money and debt management for gamblers and affected others, and developed in collaboration with debt advice and gambling support sectors as well as those with lived experience of GRFH.

Other points discussed included that debt advice and credit sectors should use integrated marketing tools to promote their services as a safe place to disclose gambling harms, while effective partnership working should be adequately funded and resourced to ensure long-term success.

In addition, attendees spoke about how organisations across all sectors, as well as gambling operators, should be encouraged to share data, insights and reporting that can help improve support for people experiencing gambling related debt.

Meanwhile, attendees spoke about the impact of cross-sector work on training and how this could help moving forward. It was established that training in all sectors should include how to identify and understand the risk factors of harm, drivers of vulnerability and risk profiles of people who may experience GRFH, including those of affected others.

Other points highlighted on the subject of training included how to hold confident, sensitive, proactive and timely conversations with those affected by gambling harms, embedding lived experience at the heart of all training, and how to identify and support affected others.

It was also advised that customer-facing staff in the gambling support and credit sectors should reassure clients that their credit rating will not be affected by engaging with debt advice services and provide clarity on what does and does not impact creditworthiness.

Finally, in terms of the tools provided to help those in need, GamCare said sectors should work together to develop a toolkit supporting customer-facing staff to engage in sensitive conversations about GRFH for use across all markets.

In addition, it was recommended that all sectors should use lived experience voices and stories to help break down shame, stigma and barriers to accessing gambling and debt support.

“As acute financial pressures are translating into increasing risks for those struggling to control their gambling and levels of debt, including risks of housing problems and homelessness, the imperative for the debt advice, gambling support sectors and consumer credit firms to offer a range of solutions to support clients is greater than ever,” GamCare said.

“Following our series of workshops, we have developed a good understanding of the best practices to tackle gambling related debts, and the changes that need to be made across sectors to support those affected.

“We look forward to working in partnership with colleagues across the debt advice, credit and gambling support sectors to bring our recommendations into action.”

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