Digital bank Monzo doubles down on gambling safeguards

By | February 17, 2021
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Monzo made a name for itself as a pioneer in mobile-only banking in the U.K. It also has made a splash with its anti-gambling controls, becoming one of the first financial institutions to allow its customers to prevent their accounts from being used for gambling activity. Now, the bank is doubling down on its gambling stance, pushing for changes on the part of the U.K. government to take gambling safeguards to a new level. It wants the government to require gaming operators to give up their banking details and to implement a single solution that would give individuals a streamlined process to stop themselves from spending money on gambling.

SBC News explains that Monzo’s CEO, TS Anil (Tummalapalli Sai Anil), is behind the initiative, authoring an open letter to the U.K. government to request additional consumer safeguards. Responding to the ever-changing gambling environment in the U.K., and the continued rewrite of the 2005 Gambling Act, Anil singled out Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Sport, Heritage and Tourism Nigel Huddleston to place an emphasis on “self-exclusion increasingly seamless and efficient covering all gambling operators and businesses that transact with the sector.” Huddleston is also behind the review of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), which is expected to provide major changes to U.K.’s gambling laws.

Amil believes that gambling companies should provide their banking details in order to create a “universal blocking of transactions” for those individuals who want to be excluded from gambling. This would essentially enable a one-click stop for those who feel they may have a gambling problem, and Amil adds, “We believe the government should take the opportunity afforded by the Gambling Act review to make sure every consumer in the U.K. can access these blocks, regardless of who they bank with. These tools are simple to build, proven to work, and will help protect hundreds of thousands of people.”

Banks across the U.K., as well as in other parts of the world, provide mechanisms that allow their customers to block their accounts from being used for gambling spend. However, Amil thinks the country can raise the bar on safeguards and wants to have the government provide the control. He’s already getting support from some within the industry, including the Betting and Gaming Council, which told The Guardian, “We support all forms of blocking capabilities and are encouraged by the continued uptake by banks of these functions.”

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