Monzo, an online bank in the UK, suggests that the government should force banks to let the punters block all betting-related transactions to strengthen their gambling safeguards. More than 5 million people in the UK are users of Monzo accounts and one of the most prominent features of it is allowing customers to block gambling transactions and providing them with tools to help them bar themselves from transactions on debit cards.
The gambling companies would be made to hand over their account details for maintaining records at the central registry. This would help the banks to block all forms of payment options for the punters, preventing them from using other methods to circumvent card blocks. However, there are still many online casinos accepting credit card payments without any UKGC and government limits.
8 major banks in the UK offer some form of gambling blocking service but the tools are applicable only on certain accounts or cards. Around 40% of customers of current accounts in the UK which is around 28 million people still lack that option and around 40% of people are unaware of the fact that such tools exist.
Gambling Transaction Blocking Functionality
The UK has brought in modifications to the gaming industry over the years. In 2018, the maximum bets of FOBT or Fixed Odds Betting Terminals were reduced to $2.78 from $139 which resulted in the closing of plenty of High street betting shops and employees losing their jobs.
The UK National Lottery announced that it would raise the playing age from 16 to 18 because as per reports, around $60 million is spent on lottery games annually by people from the 16-17 age groups. This is a major cause of concern and the age increase would curb down gambling among the underage groups.
The UK is trying to ensure that all banks must have card blockers with restrictions valid for a minimum of 48 hours. Financial Institutions have been told to raise awareness among customers to install blockers.
All Banks Should Support Casino Transactions Block
Many banks have considered offering the ability to limit the amounts spent on gambling. They block user bank accounts or debit cards in order to stop them from being used for gambling expenses.
Banks that offer Gambling Blocking services in the UK:
- Bank of Scotland: This bank offers a card locking feature that is specific to gambling transactions.
- Barclays: Customers using this bank account can block their payments made by debit cards to gambling websites and applications with the banking app.
- HSBC: It allows the customers to add or remove gambling restrictions applicable on their debit cards which also includes the Pay by Bank application. Users of this bank can lift restrictions but the transactions will still be declined till the period ends.
- Halifax: This bank offers its customers various tools and support like personal support advice, financial tracking, access to Gamban licenses for blocking online gambling.
- MBNA: This allows all the customers to maintain and track their bills and amounts spent by using their Online Card Services.
- Lloyds Bank: This bank allows its customers to freeze and unfreeze various types of transactions on their debit cards and allows Gamban access as well.
- Monzo: This bank allows customers to block gambling transactions by using their application. To turn it off, customers need to have a word with the customer support team.
- Starling: Certain transaction types can be blocked which includes gambling transactions.
- Natwest: It offers a card locking feature for gambling transactions.
- RBS: The Royal Bank Of Scotland offers a card locking feature for the same purpose.
- Natwest and Starling too, offer the same features for customer protection.
Throughout 2019, the UK has been enhancing its customer communication in order to educate people about the gambling spend in the country. The introduction of self-service options like gambling restrictions was also a part of it.
These new card controls and blocking gives customers control over their debit card spend to avoid getting bankrupt. This method would help in reducing the risk of gambling harm in the UK where 3,40,000 people are problem gamblers and around 1.7 million at risk. These initiatives can play a significant role in order to benefit society as a whole.
While this move has been introduced as a positive step towards solving gambling problems, responsible gambling campaigns are promoting their motto for a longer cooling-off period between the deactivation of payment blocks and the method of completing transactions.