Monzo calls for mandatory gambling block access in government open letter


UK digital bank Monzo has sent an open letter to the government calling on gambling transaction blocks to be made available to everyone. 

Joining forces with researchers, charities and other organisations, the group is calling on the government to consider three key changes as part of the ongoing Gambling Act review.

This includes the introduction of a new requirement for account providers in the UK to make sure every consumer can access a friction driven, card-based gambling block regardless of who they bank with.

Furthermore, the letter, signed off by TS Anil, CEO of Monzo, among others, also calls on the government to take steps to future proof these tools and address new developments in the online gambling market, to ensure “comprehensive payment blockers and harm reduction measures work today, next year, and in the decades to come”.

Monzo is also calling for the government to mandate the publication of gambling firms’ bank account details in a central registry, which it adds would be “the first step towards helping firms build truly comprehensive gambling payment blockers”.

Loot boxes are also pinpointed as “an area of growing concern,” with the group citing struggles for financial service providers in differentiating between such transactions and other types of gaming purchases.

As a result, it also suggested that work alongside gaming firms should ensue in order to “find a way to differentiate and identify loot box transactions from typical gaming purchases”.

This, says Monzo, would empower providers to identify and block these transactions for those who want to control their access to these features, as well as traditional gambling products.

The letter ends: “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. These small changes, in combination with other, existing self exclusion tools, would help the UK to create world leading harm reduction standards.”

Signatories of the open letter includes individuals from the University of Bristol Personal Finance Research Centre; Matt Zarb-Cousin, director of external affairs and co-founder of Gamban; Steve Watts, founder and CEO of GamFam; Frankie Graham, founder and CEO of Betknowmore; Prof Henrietta Bowden-Jones OBE, founder and director of the National Problem Gambling Clinic; and Dr Matthew Gaskell, clinical lead for the The NHS Northern Gambling Service.