UK Banks & Financial Institutions Join Hands To Fight Problem Gambling

UK Banks & Financial Institutions Join Hands To Fight Problem Gambling November 18, 2019 November 18, 2019 Carolyn Dutton
 Industry November 18, 2019 by Carolyn Dutton

Halifax, one of the UK’s big names in the banking industry is following HSBC’s lead in blocking cards from being used for gambling. This announcement was made recently and allows users to specify which bank cards can be excluded from gambling usage. 

The additional caveat to this is that people can reverse the decision, but they have to wait 48 hours before the cards are fully unlocked. This gives them time to consider their decision.

Spending blocks are an effective way to stop problem gamblers from accessing the money that they need for their personal use and spending it on gambling related activities. Most problem gambling losses stem from impulsive behaviour. Players think they can win on the next round and they dig deeper into their bankrolls only to come up short again. With this self-exclusion program, players will not be able to instantly access their money if they can’t control themselves.

The cards will still function for other transactions though. They will only be blocked from use when they are taken to bookmakers or used for gambling websites. This decision by Halifax is a major move and can be a big help to its customers who struggle from gambling addiction.

HSBC recently did the same thing for 14.5 million UK customers. This covers all gambling transactions, though the HSBC block only has a 24-hour wait period. HSBC is one of Europe’s largest banks and the cards it issues seem some major use. According to their data, around 500,000 customers use their cards for wagers, with a spending average of £52.50.

UKGC Pleased To See Co-Operation 

Several banks have also made moves to protect their customers from problem gambling. Lloyds Bank, Bank of Scotland and MBNA offer similar blocking features, though their options provide more options like timed exclusions and even add other establishments. According to the data from these banks, over 15,000 users have decided to use the new gambling card controls since they were launched.

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) which is the gambling watchdog in the country will be happy to see this new initiative being adopted by major banks across the country as it helps in the fight against gambling addiction.

It is not just the big banks that are taking action. Lending institutions are a popular source for the extra money that gamblers need. Many lenders have decided to step in, too. NatWest has opened its doors to counselling sessions for gambling addicts. This is a pilot scheme that will soon spread to all branches.

Carolyn is our legislation expert, with a background in law she is able to cover the current state of gambling around the world