GamCare Enhancing Efficacy of Bank Gambling Blocks: A Step Toward Responsible iGaming

The latest recommendations concerning the enhancement of bank gambling blocks, across user journey, have been released by GamCare. These suggestions aim at heightening awareness and providing additional support beyond the block, specifically for vulnerable customers.

Bank gambling blocks are complimentary tools that assist customers in blocking gambling transactions via their bank’s current accounts. Earlier this year, a workshop was held to examine ways of augmenting consumer awareness about gambling management tools. The workshop also discussed how these tools could be refined to meet the varying needs of vulnerable consumers.

It has been observed that numerous individuals, who sought support for gambling issues, only became aware of these blocks after their gambling habits had escalated. Jonathan, a person with lived experience of gambling harm, shared, “The gambling block offered by my bank has been a key pillar in my recovery, but more publicity is needed to raise awareness of bank gambling blocks, especially amongst those struggling with their gambling. Having this block in place, coupled with self-exclusion from online gambling, gives me breathing space and a sense of security, especially when big sporting events are on.”

Deelan Maru, from the Behavioural Insights Team, pointed out, “Our analysis of bank gambling tools shows that gambling blocks have inconsistent naming conventions across different banking apps. For example, one bank may call it ‘card freeze’, whilst another would place it under ‘merchant control’ or ‘restriction’ settings – ultimately causing ambiguity and confusion for the consumer. Offering these tools in intuitive locations and adopting consistent naming across the finance sector could help drive awareness and adoption of gambling management tools, ensuring more vulnerable customers are protected from gambling harms.”

The workshop gathered 67 attendees who were presented with updates, insights, and ideas from a panel of expert speakers. The idea of banks proactively educating customers about gambling support tools was a key theme. Participants also supported the suggestion that banks should regularly refer customers to external gambling support systems such as TalkBanStop, especially when vulnerability markers are present on their accounts.

A representative from the Betting and Gaming Council, UK’s industry body, introduced a registry containing bank account details for their members. By integrating this data, banks can expedite the blocking of payments and transfers to gambling companies when a gambling block is active.

Experts from the Financial Ombudsman Service urged banks not only to continuously test and monitor gambling management tools but also to explore other support measures beyond the gambling block, to provide better protection for vulnerable customers.

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