The British banking group Lloyds announced at the end of last week that it had entered into a partnership with Gamban. The company offers software for blocking gambling sites.
Block gambling on all devices
The Gamban software is available for iOS, Android, Windows and Mac and thus blocks access to thousands of gambling websites and applications on PC, smartphone and tablet. In addition to blocking gambling websites, Gamban's software can be used to block gambling on Facebook.
The software will be available through the partnership to customers of Lloyds Banking Group, Halifax and Bank of Scotland, which are part of the Lloyds Banking Group. As part of a pilot project, bank customers should initially have free access to the software for three months.
Expansion of measures to protect players
The cooperation with Gamban complements the previous player protection measures of the Lloyds Banking Group. So far, this had already offered its customers the option of blocking payments to gaming providers.
In November last year, British banks such as Halifax and HSBC announced that they would improve their player protection measures and allow their customers to block gambling transactions. The British bank NatWest also announced that it wanted to offer advice to players with pathological gaming behavior in its branches.
Elyn Corfield, head of consumer finance at Lloyds Banking Group, said that gambling damage could have a long-term impact on customers. The bank therefore attaches great importance to broad support and works closely with experts in the field of player protection.
Jack Simmonds, the founder of Gamban, said:
“It is very positive to see future-oriented banking institutions like Lloyds Banking Group taking on the challenge of protecting vulnerable customers from the dangers of gaming through restrictions such as spending controls and working with the market-leading gambling blocking technology, Gamban.”
Gamban's software had already been integrated at the end of January and a considerable number of people had already activated the blocking. Following the announcement by Lloyds Banking Group, it is possible that other UK banks will take similar measures.
Flexible switching on and off
More and more major banks are joining the fight against excessive gambling and gambling addiction and, at their request, are offering their customers technological aids to limit or completely prevent their own gambling.
One of the world's largest banks, British HSBC Bank plc, announced mid-week that it would significantly expand its player protection measures. HSBC customers from Great Britain now have the option of blocking all transactions at online casinos by the bank.
Customers can carry out this step themselves in their online banking app or ask a bank employee by phone or in a branch to activate the blocking with immediate effect.
Since the blocking can be reversed at any time at the customer's request and regardless of whether there is a gambling addiction problem or not, the HSBC Bank has installed an automatic so-called “cooling-off time”.
This means that transactions at online casinos are actually only possible again 24 hours after deactivation. This is to prevent problem gamblers from removing the blockage in a short-circuit act and immediately wasting large sums of money.
A great deal is currently being done against pathological gambling in the UK. Last summer 2018, Monzo Bank and Starling Bank developed software that prevented financial transactions with gaming providers. The Barclays Bank Merchant Control app now extends these functions to other areas.
In the Barclays app, customers can select categories that they want to block. However, there is also the option of activating these blocks via telephone banking or by making a personal request in a branch of the bank.
If the customers then try to make a payment to the deactivated provider, it will be automatically rejected.
Large banks in particular responsible
The decision by HSBC Bank to introduce transaction blocking follows shortly after the announcement by Bank NatWest, also British, of offering advice to problem gamblers in its branches in the future.
Player protection organizations have long been pushing for the country's major banks to do more to provide support to problem gamblers.
With 14.5 million customers, HSBC is currently the third largest bank in the country after Santander and Lloyds Bank and reaches almost twice as many people as NatWest Bank.
Half a million of these customers are regular gamblers, according to information from the British newspaper The Guardian. On average, they would spend £ 52.50 per month playing on various online gambling websites.
But it is not this average that should be seen as problematic. The main thing that needs to be helped is customers with a gambling addiction problem who spend more than they could afford each month.
HSBC Bank alone receives 12,000 calls annually from customers concerned about their gambling expenses.
Further measures by the banks are desirable
Following HBSC's recent announcement of the gambling block, Tony Franklin of GamblingHurts charity also praised the bank's measures.
In a Twitter post, he especially welcomes the daily limit per customer for transactions at online casinos. The HSBC was the first bank to introduce this a long time ago.
Franklin explains that the spending limit can have a significant impact on players' gaming behavior. If the limit were reached, the customer would be forced to contact the bank in order to be able to continue spending.
In the best case, the banks, provided that their employees are sensitized to the subject of gambling addiction, would have the opportunity to offer customers specific support.