The role of financial institutions in gambling

15 April 2020

Financial institutions have corporate social responsibility to assist customers in enhancing their financial well-being, and to make a positive contribution to society given the considerable role that they play in customers’ everyday lives. Financial institutions are involved in gambling through facilitating gambling transactions, including provision of credit to customers potentially experiencing gambling-related harms. As financial institutions have an overview of customers’ income, spending and debt, this potentially allows for the identification of excessive expenditure on specific activities. This article reviewed the role of financial institutions in gambling with the aim of considering ways in which policies and practices could enhance customer well-being. The Australian-focused review found limited evidence of gambling-specific bank policies despite increasing recognition of the impact of gambling-related harms. Behavioral economics and psychological approaches may be promising frameworks to guide the development of policies to assist customers in limiting their gambling to affordable levels. Financial institutions could implement products and resources for customers to enhance management of gambling expenditure. Government and community scrutiny over the role of financial institutions in gambling will likely increase given growing recognition of harms. A proactive effort to enhance customer well-being could have broad positive outcomes for financial institutions’ social licence to operate.