Although playing at UK online casinos can be
fun and exciting, it can be easy for the excitement and fun to turn into an
obsession or addiction. Concerns over problem gambling are at an all-time high
in today’s modern world but there are more services, companies and charities
working to tackle the issue than ever before.
What’s most surprising is that banks across
the UK are now working hard to help vulnerable people by implementing their own
services. It prevents customers from making deposits at an online casino or any
site if they show unusual or alarming behaviour, among other
protection mechanisms and efforts. Take a look below to find out how banks are
helping tackle gambling addictions and problematic behaviour.
One feature UK banks have implemented is
allowing customers to block gambling transactions to their bank account via
their mobile apps. Once enabled, this prevents customers from making any
deposits at online casinos. If customers attempt to deposit, the transaction
will automatically be rejected and cancelled.
This service can be re-enabled but some banks
may implement a cooling-off period before the option to block transactions can
be turned off. Currently, only banks Monzo, Starling, Barclays, NatWest, the
Royal Bank of Scotland and HSBC allow customers to enable this feature and
block gambling transactions completely or just via credit cards.
Although simple, it restricts where and how
customers spend their money and if enabled for a long period of time, may even
help reduce problematic gambling behaviour.
In October 2019, NatWest announced that it had
partnered with gambling charity GamCare to provide customers experiencing addiction
problems with counselling sessions. The service is available at several NatWest
branches across the UK and allows people who believe they suffer from
problematic behaviour to make appointments with experts, even if they aren’t
customers of the bank.
NatWest has provided GamCare experts with
dedicated floor space at its banks so to offer vulnerable people advice and
support. What’s more, the partnership between the two firms will also see
GamCare train NatWest staff to identify and support customers who wish to stop
Gambling Card Freeze
In November 2019, Halifax launched its Card
Freeze service which allows customers to freeze all gambling transactions on
their debit or credit cards. Similarly to transaction blocks, this service
prevents users from using their cards with any gambling or betting site.
What’s more, the service has a special defrost
period where customers who disable the freeze must wait 48 hours before they
can use their cards with gambling sites again. This gives users additional time
to ensure they’re making the right decision.
Over the last year, more and more banks have
begun adding these features and working closely with gambling charities as part
of a move to tackle problem gambling. The services provide players with
opportunities to control their behaviour and restrict or completely stop their
spending with online gambling websites.
Although this is a step forward, many believe
that banks can do much more to aid customers, identify signs of problem
gamblers and provide support. Campaigners have long been calling for the UK
government to implement new rules to help addicts but until then, it seems that
banks and gambling charities such as GamCare are the best option to help those