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The United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC) has launched a new consumer campaign to show clearly what the implications of the gambling block services issued by highstreets and digital banks. There has been ongoing discussion about some of the services offered by the UKGC not being clear enough about what they offer, so the idea is that this will help to clear up all confusion. It comes under the UKGC’s ‘money and rights’ section. This provides information to the public about consumer rights, operations and options when liaising with any gambling based business. A gambling block service helps to keep a player in control when they are betting by blocking card transactions with certain sites. UKGC gambling block services could potentially be improved in order to help people keep gambling responsibly. Playing your favourite casino games is always good, just as long as you enjoy them in a responsible manner.
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Who Offer Gambling Block Services?

In this area, the UKGC has provided comprehensive information of all gambling block services that are being offered by the high street banks in the UK. There are 10 of these banks in total with services to help with safe gambling in this country that are shown on the UKGC website. These are Bank of Scotland, Barclays, Halifax, HSBC, Lloyds, TSB, MBNA, Natwest, RBS and Santander. There are two further banks who only operate digitally on the list, which are Starling and Monzo.

Altogether though, there are many more banks in the UK who have setup tools to help with safe gambling. Most banks within the UK do have features setup to help their customers stay in control of their spending when gambling online. There are a few notable exceptions though. Citibank, Co-Operative, Nationwide, Standard Chartered, Metro Bank and Virgin Money are all yet to have any features to tackle irresponsible gambling.

The Gambling Act 2005 is constantly being reviewed by the government and responsibility of financial service providers are in discussion on whether stronger implications are needed. Of course everyone wants tools to aid safe gambling as often as possible as this helps to avoid addiction ruining people’s lives. It will certainly be seen as progress if all banks do offer gambling block services.

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Monzo's Gambling Block

Monzo have trialled the ‘open banking API’ to help players stay in control of their gambling online. This is a detailed gambling block solution which impedes transactions between financial service providers and gambling operators. The financial service providers consist of banks, credit cards, e-wallets, loans etc. Monzo came up with this idea in 2018 and have reported that over 275,000 customers in the UK have already activated the option. This shows that a high number of people are willing to take actions to ensure they remain safe online.

A representative from Monzo said: “Everyone should have access to a gambling block regardless of who they bank with or how they pay. It is relatively easy for banks and open banking providers to put in place but it can have a big impact on someone’s well being. Other banks and open banking providers should follow our lead to allow gambling blocks to cover non-card payments”.

Keep Gambling Safe

Monzo seem to be very keen in ensuring safe gambling in the UK. TS Anil is the chief executive at the company and he published a letter to the government asking for the responsible gambling safeguards to have added enforcements. Anil targeted the self-exclusion area of gambling in his letter. He wants to make sure that the process of one excluding themselves from a gambling website is ‘increasingly seamless and efficient covering all gambling operators and businesses in this sector’. What is essentially being called for is for banking companies to give their bank details so that all transactions can be blocked by someone who has requested for it. Therefore simplifying the process of someone self excluding themselves from each gambling operator one by one. This will by no means revolutionise the gambling world, it will just help to protect those who want to limit and exclude themselves. With 275,000 of Monzo’s customers having already triggered this, it shows that it could be a popular option for all banks to acquire. 

The 2005 Gambling Act is constantly being reviewed, partially because of the drastic rise in online casinos. Online gaming is more popular now than it has ever been before, so it does make sense to review the conditions as and when necessary to keep safe gambling the priority. It is great fun to gamble online but only when you know that you are in control. 

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