Let Gamblers Block All Gambling Transactions Through Their Banks – Monzo

Monzo calls on the UK government to consider the introduction of new rules allowing gamblers to block all gambling transactions through their banks. 

Monzo Bank Ltd is a UK-based online bank and a direct competitor to the high-street banks. They believe the UK government should update current legislation to address concerns around gambling safety.

Gambling Act 2005 – Review

The UK government is undertaking a review of the Gambling Act 2005. Monzo chief executive, and other gambling charity leaders, have written an open letter to the Sports Minister, Nigel Huddleston. In the letter, they argue that the UK needs laws that will allow banks to help their customers set gambling limits and give customers the ability to block gambling transactions.

The letter is signed by Monzo’s CEO and co-authored by Prof Sharon Collard, (University of Bristol) as well as leaders from the NHS Northern Gambling Service, National Problem Gambling Clinic, Gamban and Gamfam.

The group says that current legislation is outdated. The Gambling Act 2005 currently forces online casinos to offer their customers the ability to self-exclude, but Monzo believes that banks should also provide customers with the opportunity to block gambling transactions entirely.

The idea is that by providing a blanket ban with a cooling-off period (e.g., no reversals allowed for 48-hours), it prevents problem gamblers from getting around self-exclusions. Currently, gamblers can simply open an account with a different online casino after self-exclusion.

Giving banks powers to let customers block gambling transactions offers a comprehensive way to help gamblers curb impulsive overspending.

Video Games Companies Are Also a Target

There’s been plenty of discussion in recent years about loot boxes and whether they count as a form of gambling. The group believes that banks should also be given the powers to enable their customers to block in-game transactions for loot boxes.

How they’ll be able to distinguish between loot box transactions and other in-game transactions is anyone’s guess. If the government passes new legislation, it could mean that video games producers will have to make changes. For example, changing how they label loot box transactions.

World-Leading Framework for Gambling Safety

The aim of the legislation being promoted is to make the UK a leader in the fight against gambling harms. We already have some of the most comprehensive laws in the world, striking a fair balance between the freedom to gamble and protection from gambling harm.

Here’s what the group’s letter had to say,

Ultimately, the Gambling Act review offers a unique opportunity to create a world-leading self-exclusion framework in the UK to reduce gambling harms, and help consumers gain control of their finances
TS Anil, CEO, Monzo
The UK culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, announced plans for a comprehensive review of the UK’s gambling laws in 2021.

This is due to the huge rise in online gambling in recent years. The review will look at marketing techniques, gambling restrictions, stake and spend limits, and the powers of the Gambling Commission. Many perceive the powers of the Gambling Commission to be weak – the laws are there, but the power to enforce them isn’t necessarily what it should be.

 

A picture of a Judges hammer and gavel next to a law book. I've used it to represent changes to legislation that Monzo is requesting.