Bank customers experiencing gambling related vulnerabilities and harm: Exploring an ethics of care

Bank customers experiencing gambling related vulnerabilities and harm

Suncorp Bank is directing increasing attention on how to better support its customers who are experiencing vulnerability. One driver of potential vulnerability for customers is through the impacts of gambling and related harms. Suncorp is concerned that some of its customers may be experiencing gambling related vulnerabilities and harm and is focused on how to best support these people. This is a concern as problem gambling has major impacts on personal finance; family, mental and physical health, productivity in the workplace, and the economy – with gambling related harm estimated to cost Australia in excess of $8.4 billion per annum.

While governments play a critical role in regulating gambling environments and mitigating harm, financial institutions are also key stakeholders (Swanton et al., 2019). Financial institutions and their products can act as conduits for gambling transactions, particularly with the rise in online gambling that rely on electronic transactions. However, as Swanton et al., (2019) identify that banks could play an important role in mitigating the harmful effects of gambling through provision of financial literacy education, placing restrictions on gambling expenditure, providing hardship programs, and connecting gamblers to supports services such as counselling. The role of gambling support services and other support serviced for people experiencing vulnerabilities and harm is crucial. Such services can offer advice, counselling, education and a range of other services to help people manage their gambling behaviours and mitigate harms. However, there is little understanding of how customers would respond to a bank contacting them about their gambling behaviour, for example as indicated by their account spending patterns, to offer them support.

Chief Investigator

Our team

  • Dr Abigail Foluké Badejo, QUT Faculty of Health – Chief Investigator
  • Hayden Cahill, QUT Research Assistant

Funding / Grants

  • Funded by Suncorp (2021 - 2022)

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