Monzo Calls for Banks to Block Gambling Payments

Monzo, an online lender in the United Kingdom, has called on lawmakers to mandate banks to build tools that allow consumers to block gambling transactions.

Empower Consumers to Block Gambling Transactions, Says Mondo

Online lender Monzo has called on British MPs and Ministers to take a tougher stance on payments to and from gambling companies, ordering banks to block such transactions outright. Monzo insists on operators transferring data to regulators to verify safety as well as suspend all transactions of gambling origin.

Addressing the Minister of Sports, Nigel Huddleston, the company joined forces with various anti-gambling opponents and researchers who argued that the government should use the ongoing Gambling Act 2005 review as an opportunity to make it easier for vulnerable gamblers to quit the habit.

Monzo argues that banks should offer tools to customers that allow them to exclude debit cards and direct bank transfers from gambling transactions. The lender argues that gambling companies should submit their bank account details so that those can be stored in a central registry and filtered more easily for customers.

By centralizing bank data about gambling companies, financial institutions would have the means to block transactions from users who have switched to other methods to avoid the card blocks. The measure takes a proposed and enforced ban on credit cards a step further, and once again targets vulnerable gamblers.

Think of the Children, Think of the Players

According to GambleAware, though, at least 40% of current bank customers in the country still cannot opt out of gambling transactions even if they wanted to. Monzo on the other hand offers the option and already some 275,000 customers have decided to suspend gambling payments.

Cited by The Guardian, Monzo’s chief executive TS Anil had this to say: “We believe the government should take the opportunity afforded by the Gambling Act review to make sure every consumer in the UK can access these blocks, regardless of who they bank with.”

Monzo’s isn’t launching this on its own. The company is backed by NHS gambling experts who have argued in favor of introducing tools giving customers more control. Ultimately, these tools bring only benefits to players.

Banks can build them quickly and they have a proven track record in protecting consumers from gambling harm. The letter touches on another contentious topic, that of loot boxes, which have been long the cause of confusion in legal terms.

With the United Kingdom registering 55,000 children as gambling addicts, the nature of loot boxes, which offer automated prizes in exchange for money, has been debated again and again. Monzo is confident that loot boxes bear resemblance to gambling and as such, they should be blocked. There have been reports of children stealing money from parents to be able to purchase these digital containers.  

The Gambling Act review, argues Monzo, is an opportunity for the government to create an industry-defining exclusion framework that can protect customers from gambling harm. Because of the digitalization of gambling, institutions and regulators must respond in new ways to keep consumers say, Monzo argued.

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