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Chris Bell

How Banks Are Helping To Tackle Problem Gambling

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 sister 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.

Blocking Transactions

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.

NatWest In-Branch Support

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.

Halifax’s 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 vulnerable gamers.