Could Gambling Blocks on Bank Accounts Help Curb Problem Gambling?

Access Denied Sign on SmartphoneAlthough online gaming is undoubtedly very entertaining, exciting and potentially rewarding, we also can’t ignore the fact that it can be highly addictive.

Within the UK alone, 430,000 people are problem gamblers and there are at least 2,000,000 people who are considered to be ‘at risk’.

These statistics are not only staggering, but they’re worrying too. As a part of the online gambling industry, here at Fortune Frenzy we always want to make sure that online gaming remains fun and our players are safe at all times – so what more can be done to curb this epidemic?

Banks to Introduce Gambling Blocks

In the past week, there have been calls for more and more banking services to implement optional gambling blocks for their customers.

These blocks stop users from spending money on gambling apps, websites and land-based venues. Could this be the answer?

In today’s post, we look at how gambling blocks could help problem gamblers, when and why they may be needed and what other safeguarding methods you can use to ensure that online gaming remains an enjoyable pastime.

What Is Problem Gambling?

problem gamblingProblem gambling, simply put, is an urge to gamble continuously, despite harmful consequences or a desire to stop. Essentially, it’s when a player feels addicted to gambling.

Problem gambling is indicated when a player experiences four (or more) of the following nine situations within a 12 month period:

  • A need to gamble progressively larger amounts of money
  • An inability to cut back or quit gambling
  • Feeling restless or irritable when not gambling, or when attempting to stop gambling
  • Feeling preoccupied with gambling (i.e constantly thinking about when you may next be able to gamble)
  • A need to gamble when feeling stressed/anxious/unhappy
  • A need to gamble larger amounts of money to recoup previous gambling losses
  • Lying about the amount of time or money spent gambling
  • Losing a job or relationship due to gambling
  • Borrowing money to continue gambling, or to live off due to gambling losses

What Is a Gambling Block?

Monzo and Starling Bank LogosTwo UK banking services, Monzo and Staring Bank, are now offering their customers the ability to place ‘gambling blocks’ on their accounts.

Once a gambling block is activated by a customer, it works by spotting any transaction a person may try and make with a bookmaker or casino (both on and offline), by using merchant category odes. Then, it instantly stops the transaction from happening, before any money has left the customer’s account.

These gambling blocks are optional, of course, and they can be turned off at any time. However, the gambling block will take 48 hours to be lifted, which should help to stop players from making rash decisions.

Do Gambling Blocks Work?

Whilst the effectiveness of gambling blocks on problem gambling is yet to be determined, gambling blocks have proved to very popular with customers.

  • Over 25,000 customers have signed up to Monzo’s gambling block since it went live in June
  • 8,000 of those people had a history of gambling
  • 20,000 Starling Bank customers have also signed up to their version of the gambling block

Should All Banks Implement Gambling Blocks?

Monzo Gambling Block on iPhone

What’s more, the UK Gambling Commission is also talking to financial institutions about how to improve protection for problem gamblers.

Although at the moment, only two UK banking services are offering gambling blocks, The Royal College of Psychiatrists is urging the big five high street banks – Lloyds  Santander, HSBC, RBS Group and Barclays – to provide similar types of services.

In our eyes, banking gambling blocks definitely seem to be a good idea and we wouldn’t stop there. As more and more banks now offer mobile apps, they could be used to send helpful notifications to keep track of online gaming spending, even if an outright block wasn’t requested.

Other Online Gaming Safeguarding Techniques

It may take quite some time for all of the major banks to start offering gambling blocks. However, in the meantime, there are several techniques you can use to make sure you stay safe when gaming online.

Below we’ve listed some of the most useful safeguarding methods which can be used by everyone to prevent problem gambling.

Use a Pay by Phone Bill Depositing Service

boku pay by phonePay by phone casino methods, like Boku, are not only incredibly quick and convenient but they’re also a useful budgeting tool.

As pay by phone services essentially allow you to ‘pay later’ for your online casino deposits via your monthly phone bill, the services impose strict daily depositing limits (£30 per day) to stop players from racking up piles of debts.

This means that pay by phone services can be used to stop overspending, which in turn can help prevent problem gambling.

Contact Customer Services (Self Exclusion and Depositing Limits)

As we mentioned earlier, here at Fortune Frenzy we’re committed to making sure that our players enjoy our games and that online gaming remains a fun hobby. This is why we offer plenty of different ways in which you can keep track of your gambling habits.

At Fortune Frenzy, you can contact our customer service team at any time to discuss:

Reality Checks

These are notifications which will appear once you’ve surpassed a certain time limit, set be you. They serve to remind you of how long you’ve been playing for, and you’ll then have the option to continue playing or to review your account.

Depositing Limits

Spending Limit SignAt Fortune Frenzy, you can limit the amount of money that you are able to deposit into your account at any time. You can set either daily, weekly or monthly depositing limits. These limits can also be reduced and increased at any time, however, increases in depositing limits will only be implemented 24 hours after the request is made.

You can set depositing limits at Fortune Frenzy when you sign up to a casino account, by visiting the ‘Settings’ page of your casino account, or by contacting customer service.

Taking a ‘Time Out’

If you feel like your gambling isn’t out of control, but you’d like to take a break from online gambling, then a ‘time out’ period may be helpful.

A ‘time out’ period, at Fortune Frenzy, is an amount of time during which you cannot access your casino account. This can be a minimum of 24 hours, up to a maximum of six weeks. The duration of the ‘time out’ is set by you and can be changed at any point.

Self Exclusion

Casino Safeguarding

If you want to prevent yourself from gambling at Fortune Frenzy completely, then you have the option of self-excluding.

This means that you can request a total ban on accessing your account for a specific period of time, between six months and five years. This exclusion period cannot be lifted until the period is completed and you contact us to say you want to reopen your account.

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