Gambling Commission publishes public guidance on gambling blocking services

The UK’s gambling regulator has launched its own public guidance campaign providing a breakdown of the gambling blocking services currently available to consumers at highstreet and digital banks.

The UK Gambling Commission’s latest public guidance campaign forms part of the money and rights section of its site that was launched in early 2021. 

This new section of its site was created with the intention of providing consumers with detailed information on their consumer rights and options when it comes to engaging with gambling companies.

The Gambling Commission’s public guidance

The Gambling Commission’s new public guidance on gambling blocking services provides a full breakdown of the blocking services and dafer gambling support tools currently available at nine of the UK’s highstreet banks. 

These banks include Bank of Scotland, Barclays, Halifax, HSBC, Lloyds TSB, MBNA, Natwest, RBS and Santander. 

The Commission rounded out its list by outlining the safer gambling features offered by the digital banking platforms Monzo and Starling.

While the majority of the UK’s banks provide customers with gambling blocking services there are still several banks that do not offer safer gambling protection measures. Some of these financial institutions include Citibank, Co-operative, Nationwide, Standard Chartered, Metro Bank and Virgin Money.

The responsibilities of the UK’s financial institutions will be a key part of the UK government’s ongoing review of the 2005 Gambling Act.

The Gambling Commission’s new guidance on gambling blockers comes after TS Anil, the Chief Executive of the digital bank Monzo, published an open letter calling on the government to force financial institutions to offer gambling blocks to customers

Monzo calls for mandatory gambling blockers

In its letter, the digital bank called for the implementation of three key changes as part of its review of the Gambling Act.

The first change calls for the introduction of a requirement for account providers in the UK to make sure every consumer can access card-based gambling blockers regardless of who they bank with. 

Monzo is also calling for gambling companies to be ordered to disclose their bank accounts on a registry so that banks and other financial institutions can extend their gambling blocks to bank transfers and card payments.

The letter also calls for gaming companies to find a way to differentiate loot box transactions from typical gaming purchases so that consumers can block loot box transactions using existing gambling blocks.

The Review of the 2005 Gambling Act

In December, the UK’s Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden announced that the UK government would be carrying out its review of the 2005 Gambling Act.

The government launched a call for evidence where it will look at the role of the Gambling Commission, online restrictions and marketing to examine how the industry has changed over the last 15 years.

The government will also explore the protections available to online gamblers such as stake and deposit limits, promotional offers and whether extra protections are needed for young adults.