Last week, several new restrictions were suggested in order to regulate the gambling industry in the UK. The new changes that will be most possibly introduced soon include affordability checks for gamblers, social media promotions, and blocking of gambling payments by UK banking institutions.
UK Gabling Commission Insists on Affordability Checks for Gamblers
To lower the gambling risks that vulnerable UK gamblers are exposed to, the UK Gambling Commission suggested that gaming operators should implement mandatory affordability checks. These should be carried out whenever gamblers accumulate monthly losses of £100 or higher.
According to the co-founder of Gamban, Matt Zarb-Cousin, any further debate on the application of mandatory affordability checks is unnecessary. He stated that gambling operators are currently required to do those check-ups but they tend to carry them out only when individuals lose huge amounts of money. He shared that the only thing that should be changed is the loss amount at which gambling companies should apply the affordability checks.
While some operators argued that affordability checks will infringe on their customers’ privacy, Zarb-Cousin refuted those arguments by stating that gambling companies are collecting a lot of data shared by their customers anyway.
The UK Gambling Commission held a consultation on affordability checks and received around 13,000 submissions. The Commission informed that it was taking into consideration the evidence and opinion provided by all of the participants. Among the 13,000 submissions, there was also a huge research institute that ensured the affordability checks could be carried out without using any additional data collection and almost without any detection from punters.
British racing companies expressed their concerns that the new affordability checks may cost the sport a yearly loss of £60 million as it partly depends on taxes on horse racing bets. Zarb-Cousin believes that online slots and other casino games are the main reason for the rising gambling risks in the UK. This is why, to pacify the concerned racing representatives and sportsbooks, Zarb-Cousin suggested that the affordability checks can be less severe for gambling operators if they opt for offering sports betting and casino games on separate websites or ask their members to use different payment solutions for the two types of online gambling.
Football Clubs to Follow New Rules on Social Media Posts
New rules on social media promotions were introduced by the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) last week. According to the new regulations, football clubs will not be allowed to promote any gambling operators or betting offers through their official social media profiles.
A total of 11 football clubs, including ones of the Premier League, English Football League (EFL), and Scottish Premiership clubs received a letter warning about the harm they can cause by promoting gambling activity through their social network accounts. The letter was signed by 50 individuals who used to suffer from a gambling addiction. The addressers of the letter expressed their concerns about the harm that posts promotions gambling operators may cause to vulnerable bettors.
The new BGC code of conduct will come into effect on 1 March and it will not allow football clubs to promote or post links that lead to gambling websites on their official Twitter pages. The new rules also ban football clubs from promoting offers or odds in tweets that are not exclusively targeted at individuals over the age of 18.
Monzo Insist on Gambling Blocks Across All UK Banks
Monzo is one of the few UK banks that allow its customers to block any gambling-related payments. About 40% of the bank account holders in the UK are currently not allowed to block gambling payments. Monzo, as well as Barclays and NatWest, are among the UK banks that enable their customers to block gambling-related payments via their dedicated mobile banking apps.
Monzo has joined other organisations in the movement to enforce gambling blocks across all UK banks. The banking institution asks for the Government to require gambling companies to provide their banking details to a central registry. This should be done to block any bank transfers or card payments.
According to Monzo, about 275,000 of their customers have requested gambling blocks and less than 10% of them go back on their decision to block gambling-related payments. Thanks to this feature, the bank blocks around 585,000 gambling transactions every month. In a letter addressed to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), Monzo and other organisations also ask for a way to differentiate between loot box transactions and other gaming purchases.
Due to the growing concerns about the harm of loot boxes, Monzo argues that if there is a clear way to differentiate between different gaming purchases, banks will be able to block loot box transactions. It is yet to be decided whether all UK banks will be required to block gambling payments, improving the protection of vulnerable gamblers.