Earlier this week, Monzo, the internet-first bank weighed in on the row on gambling regulation by asking politicians to guarantee all banking customers the right to have access to a gambling block.
The fact that Monzo introduced the first such block is no coincidence surely. And, now Monzo has gone further and is running a pilot programme with TrueLayer to run a more comprehensive gambling block.
Monzo’s block first came into effect in 2018. The company says that 275,000 customers have activated the service, and only 10% of those have then switched it off for good.
The tool blocks all card payments to gambling companies.
However, tech is revolutionising the payments industry and Monzo says it needs a more comprehensive block to keep ahead of those innovations.
Hence the new pilot, using open banking tech, to cut out some of the newer payment methods used by banking companies.
Monzo customers can now block a range of payment methods via their bank account. The old blocks used the codes that card issuers use to categorise the payments they receive. That allowed customers to put a big red flag against gambling businesses.
TrueLayer can use API programming to block other payments made via Monzo.
Apparently, the change is relatively easy to implement, but Monzo would like it to have a big impact and is calling on politicians to make a right to such a blocking system a must-have for banks and payment providers.
Open banking can also help gambling providers provide better support services, says Monzo. This might include affordability checks that pick up dangerous spending, better enforcement or spending limits, and faster ID checks.
The gambling industry is awaiting new regulations in 2021. The UK’s gambling regulator, the UK Gambling Commission is due to deliver a review of gambling legislation. There has been much political and media concern over the effects on vulnerable players of Britain’s booming and massively deregulated gambling sector.
Already, gambling businesses offer a range of support services, including exclusions, payment, withdrawal, and staking limits. They also provide links to gambling support and advice charities.
However, they also acknowledged that new rules are coming in and a war of words and signalled actions is underway.
The UK GC has already introduced new rules on how online slots work. And gambling business organisations have warned that setting regulations or limits too tightly will drive customers into the completely unregulated black market. Big providers have been making positive noises about regulations, including releasing figures about how much money they take from “at-risk” customers.
What comes next will have a big effect on the industry in some way. And it may have a big effect on existing customers. Advertising bans are no big deal to people who already use UK gambling sites, but strict staking limits that could take the per-spin gamble down to £2 a spin will affect how players play their games.
Time will tell and everyone even tangentially connected to the UK gambling industry is watching the situation closely.