The Money and Mental Health Policy Institute responds to Labour Party announcement on measures to tackle problem gambling

20 September 2018


Today the Labour Party published their conclusions following a year-long review into into problem gambling and its treatment. Tom Watson MP and Jonathan Ashworth MP consulted with experts including The Money and Mental Health Policy Institute, and as a result have announced a suite of new policies which will be included in the next Labour Party manifesto. This includes new rules to give customers the power to block online gambling transactions through their bank or card provider, following a concerted campaign by the mental health charity.

Other new policies include:

  • ban on gambling advertising in live sport
  • A compulsory levy on gambling operators of 1% of Gross Gambling Yield
  • New clinical guidelines and increased resources for the treatment of gambling addiction
  • A ban on credit card betting


Commenting, Helen Undy, the Director of The Money and Mental Health Policy Institute, said: Problem gambling can lead to spiralling debts and cause real harm to our mental health. The current gambling self-exclusion process is very complicated; different types of gambling have different systems, and blocking gambling can require contacting multiple operators over the phone or in person. It’s a system that just doesn’t work.

“We believe it’s time that banks stepped in to help, allowing customers to block all types of gambling transaction in one go. Since we started campaigning for this change we’ve seen two banks implement these new tools, and we’re delighted that the Labour Party has thrown their weight behind the move. It’s a simple change which could make an enormous difference, putting control back in the hands of people, rather than the gambling firms, and we hope to see more banks offering this option to their customers soon.




Helen Undy, 0207 848 1448, [email protected] for all media enquiries including interviews with spokespeople.

Notes to Editors

  • The Money and Mental Health Policy Institute was set up by Martin Lewis in spring 2016, registered charity number 1166493. It is an independent charity, committed to breaking the link between financial difficulty and mental health problems. The charity conducts research, develops practical policy solutions and works in partnership with both those providing services and those using them to find what really works.
  • You can read the charity’s full response to the Labour Party review here.
  • The Money and Mental Health Policy Institute published a research paper in November 2017 called ‘Know the odds: the links between mental health problems and gambling’. This called for card providers to offer customers the option to block gambling transactions on their payment cards via Merchant Category Code blocking.
  • Currently Starling and Monzo bank offer this block to their customers, with Monzo including a 48 hour delay following requests to turn the block off to reduce potential harm from impulsive decisions to gamble.