Blocking gambling transactions through banking applications has proven to be a resounding success in Britain. However, in Australia a bank did just the opposite and intentionally raised the spending limit using a problem player’s credit cards.
Just over 500,000 Britons have already used the innovative payment blocking options to casinos and other gambling sites from their own bank accounts, the Daily Mail reported recently. Reports reveal that the Monzo bank, the first to use the self-exclusion system for two years, already has 220,000 clients who have used the tool.
On the other hand, Starling Bank reported that 200 thousand clients, representing almost a sixth of its total client portfolio, also opted for the option to block gambling payments, while Lloyds bank has already incorporated 120 thousand users into the scheme self-locking and HSBC has just added another 30 thousand to the total.
The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) announced some time ago that from april it plans to ban the use of credit cards for gambling related activities. This is part of a strategy by the British regulator aimed at reducing the damage caused by gambling. It also seeks to demonstrate to parliament that it is not acting deliberately, as has been suggested, due to the UKGC’s alleged comfort with regard to authorized operators.
CBA abandoned player with problems to his fate
While this is happening in the UK, banks in Australia have considered taking their own initiative to ban the use of credit cards in gambling. The recent decision approved by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) to file a lawsuit against the Commonwealth Bank of Austria (CBA) for not really protecting a gambling player, points in that direction.
During 2016 and 2017, CBA deliberately decided to increase player David Harris’ credit card spending limit. This happened despite Harris himself having previously notified CBA of his gambling problems and his desire not to accept any other offer of credit until he was certain that he could control his conduct with the game.
CBA not only ignored the player’s decision, but approved a credit limit increase multiple times. Two years ago, the player revealed to a Royal Financial Services Commission that he had informed the bank that he had gambling problems, something that the bank was able to “clearly see … due to the transactions I have been doing, and I do not understand why does he keep offering me more money”.
In a statement issued by CBA this month, the bank admitted that “we did not do the right thing for this client and we apologize.” The bank added that after that unfortunate incident it has been making a number of changes, including the transaction blocks initiated by the customer.
Having admitted its error and in accordance with the provisions of the National Consumer Credit Protection Law, the CBA will not assume any defense, so it is awaiting the Australian justice system to establish a sanction against the bank for its failures .