UK banks urged to block gambling transactions on business accounts
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Britain’s biggest business banks have been cautioned about the potential implications of betting transactions by a leading gambling harm prevention charity.

GamCare, which provides support services such as a 24/7 helpline, has warned about the potential use of business accounts for gambling payments. The charity believes banks should be aware of the implications for both businesses and self-employed people.

A recent workshop conducted by GamCare uncovered some examples of business accounts being used for gambling payments, which in some cases resulted in significant financial losses for said businesses.

GamCare has cited data from PayPlan and the Business Debtline to support its case, with the latter’s Information Officer, Dawn Jennings, stating: “For some of our clients, gambling had put their business under extra financial strain, making it more difficult for them to trade. For others, it has simply led to the closure of their business.”

GamCare has published the findings of its workshop in a report, with the main recommendation being for banks to increase use of gambling transaction blocking tools.

These tools are currently used by a few of the UK’s biggest banks and financial institutions. GamCare notes that Monzo and Tide block gambling transactions by default, whilst Santander and NatWest offer an opt-in gambling block at the customer’s request.

GamCare asserts that these tools and practices should be adopted more widely across the banking sector. The charity also recommends that banks assess the risks of allowing gambling transactions on business accounts.

Enhanced transaction monitoring is also encouraged. GamCare believes that this would better identify gambling harm, and notes that retail banks have been monitoring data to detect unaffordable gambling, recommending this be used for business banking.

Raminta Diliso, Financial Harm Manager at GamCare, commented: “Gambling harm can be a very hidden issue and it is worrying to hear that some people are financing their gambling through business funds. 

“Business banks need to be aware of the risks of allowing transactions to gambling companies – both for the businesses and for the people running these businesses. Following our event, we have made some practical recommendations so banks can prevent British businesses and people from gambling harm.”

The financial impact of gambling harm has been an increasing concern for various stakeholders in the UK in recent years. This has included banks, politicians and legislators, and other public interest groups, including charities.

Affordability in particular has been an issue, and presents the potential for indebtedness. This led to the decision to ban credit card payments for gambling back in 2020, and years since have seen an extensive debate around affordability, particularly within the context of the two-and-a-half-year long Gambling Act review.