The trend of UK high street banks taking the initiative on the issue of problem gambling has continued this week with the news that one leading bank is to step up its service in this area.
NatWest, part of the RBS Group, has announced that it is set to expand a pilot scheme that aims to provide gambling counselling across the UK network. Working with the gambling welfare group GamCare, last year NatWest launched what was described as a ‘walk-in gambling consultation’ service for customers in 13 branches based across the South East and the Midlands.
At the time of the launch, the management of NatWest said that it was the duty of the bank to help the NHS and local communities in their efforts to tackle the difficulties associated with problem gambling.
After what was described as a successful trial, and Chief Executive of RBS, Alison Rose, has now confirmed that the scheme is set to be expanded as a major bank initiative this year.
In announcing the expansion, Rose praised the support and training provided by GamCare and said that the program had delivered genuine benefits for service users. She added that the 13 branches involved in the test had achieved their aim of becoming a first point of contact for those seeking help with gambling addiction. As the scheme expands, Natwest say that they will continue to work in conjunction with GamCare, as they try to maximise the effectiveness of the service, which is set to be offered in all 850 of the UK’s Natwest branches.
Linked to the GamCare treatment unit, the walk-in consultations offered by NatWest are available to all members of the public who have concerns about problem gambling. The scheme has been praised by many public figures, including former Minister Nicky Morgan who has urged other banks to follow.