TS Anil, the new chief executive of digital bank Monzo, has published an open letter to the UK government calling for the increased enforcement of responsible gambling safeguards on UK licensed operators and financial services providers.
The statement comes as social responsibility and customer affordability take on heightened importance, with UK gambling faces imminent changes as the government undertakes its generational review of the 2005 Gambling Act.
Anil urged sports minister Nigel Huddleston, who is leading the DCMS review, to make the process of ‘self-exclusion increasingly seamless and efficient covering all gambling operators and businesses that transact with the sector’.
The process would involve gambling companies providing their bank details, leading to the ‘universal blocking of transactions’ for specific customers that have requested self-exclusion .
Issuing a letter to the government, Anil stated: “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.
“These tools are simple to build, proven to work, and will help protect hundreds of thousands of people.”
Since 2018, Monzo has independently operated its gambling-block service. 250,000 customers have asked the company to ban all transactions online gambling websites, revealed the company’s 2019 corporate report.
The firm added: “Ultimately, the Gambling Act review offers a unique opportunity to create a world-leading self-exclusion framework in the UK to reduce gambling harms, and help consumers gain control of their finances.
“The rise in online gambling, and new ways to pay, requires a robust response from the government.”
Each of the UK’s major banks currently has safeguards in place to support social responsibility in terms of gambling, however, Monzo underlined its belief that obstacles need to be removed for consumers to engage with the tools available.
The proposals by Monzo were backed by the University of Bristol, as it continues to research gambling harms and the most fruitful methods in supporting those at risk.
Speaking to the Guardian, the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) also showed its support for the Monzo recommendations by stating: “We support all forms of blocking capabilities and are encouraged by the continued uptake by banks of these functions.”