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UK Building Society Offers Counselling to Gambling Addicts

by Glenn Baird - October 30, 2019

NatWest, a subsidiary of the Royal Bank of Scotland will begin offering a counselling service for gambling addicts in 13 of its UK branches.

The scheme will be working in partnership with GamCare, whose counsellors will be available on appointment to help anyone who considers themselves an at risk gambler, whether or not they bank with Nat West.

The trial will only be available in London and the South East, but Nat West have said that the service could become available in up to 700 of their branches throughout England.

Along with Barclays and a few other groups, Nat West will also block any transactions made to gambling sites via their accounts if they as asked to do so.

Phil Sheehy, NatWest’s head of Lending said:

“Some customers might be uncomfortable going to an addiction centre,” s “This is an accessible and neutral environment.”

“We want to look at what we can do to help people who may be struggling with a gambling addiction, which can have a significant effect financially.”

Nicky Morgan, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport since July 2019 had this to say:

“The government has been clear to all businesses that have connections to gambling, including bookmakers, major high-street banks and social media platforms, that 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,”

“I will closely monitor NatWest’s progress and I urge others in the banking sector to follow suit for the good of their customers.”

Development director of GamCare, Mike Kenward has stated that the charity would do what they can to support staff in branches of NatWest to help customers who want to stop gambling:

“The relationship between problem gambling and financial problems is well established, although not enough is known about it,” said Kenwood.

“Banks are in a phenomenal position to support people affected by problem gambling. What people need when they’re trying to make a big change in their life is the tools to help them when their motivation is at its lowest. It gives an additional layer of protection.”

9 locations have been confirmed as running the service, with another 4 still to be announced.