FinTechs Could Lead The Charge In Combatting Gambling Addictions In The U.K.

With the UK’s gambling act of 2005 falling under review, changes are unlikely to be implemented before 2022. However, online lender Monzo, is taking matters into its own hands by appealing to the U.K. government to enforce a gambling access block on U.K. bank accounts. Monzo has gone fur-ther to insist banks send over their data to ensure that the system is foolproof.

Addiction experts, top NHS clinicians, gambling harm charities, and leading academics are support-ing Monzo’s letter to the Under-Secretary of State for Sport, Heritage, and Tourism, Nigel Huddle-ston who is leading the review of the gambling law. The letter requests that the government support creating obstacles to prevent gamblers from participating, create tools that will enable clients to gov-ern their own addiction, prevent debit card gambling transactions, and that gambling companies cre-ate transparency around their bank details. The latter is to enable banks to ease the blocking of transactions related to gambling.

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Monzo’s CEO TS Anil said, “While the review of the Gambling Act has brought this important topic to the table again - we should be clear that it’s not just the gambling companies that should be doing more; every U.K. bank should step up and help their customers too.” Monzo was the first bank to launch a gambling block all the way back in 2018, and has since been pushing the charge in earnest, calling other banks and financial services, as well as governing bodies to take a more proactive ap-proach towards these regulations.

This landmark review of the gambling law comes at a time where gambling is hitting all-time highs in the U.K. as a result of citizens passing the time in extended lockdowns. Already, eight banks have initiated an iteration of a blocking services against gambling, but they have yet to develop more so-phisticated systems to help self-regulation. Monzo’s letter stated, “These tools are simple to build, proven to work, and will help protect hundreds of thousands of people.” Still, research from Bristol University and Gamble Aware found that in 2020 as many as 28 million current account holders in the U.K. are yet to have access to such gambling blocks.

While gambling remains a problem in the U.K., fintechs may play a pivotal role in helping to enforce preventative measures within their own bevy of services. Regulation and policy is a notoriously slow process, but a lot can be done before the gamble act is re-written in 2022 from fintechs alone.