When playing at your favourite UK online casino, it’s crucial that you keep things fun and gamble responsibly. As much as 2.7% of the adult population in the UK suffers from some measure of problem gambling, and so it’s vitally important to highlight the ways that people can more effectively manage their habits whilst betting and playing online.
Fortunately, several services exist to help people suffering from gambling-related harms or assist those who want a short break from gambling altogether. One of the most efficient is the gambling transaction blocker, which has become common among banking services in the UK.
What is a Gambling Transaction Blocker?
A gambling transaction blocker is a feature that allows you to restrict gambling-related transactions with your card or bank account. When they’re enabled, your provider will automatically reject any attempts you make to deposit at an online casino or similar website.
Gambling transaction blockers are an extension of the mandatory credit card ban introduced by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) in April 2020. However, at the time of writing, neither the UKGC nor the government makes offering gambling transaction blockers mandatory.
What Kinds of Gambling Transaction Blockers Exist?
Gambling transaction blockers differ depending on the banking service you use. To find the best choice for you, you’ll need to do some research; towards the end of this article, we’ll provide you with a selection of UK banks offering this feature.
Before that, though, let’s look at three common gambling transaction blockers you’ll probably run into.
Time-Sensitive Gambling Transaction Blockers
When we talk about time-sensitive gambling transaction blockers, we’re referring to the extended cooling-off period that many providers add once you switch the feature off. This could be 24, 48, or 72 hours.
Once you’ve triggered a time-sensitive gambling transaction block extension, you won’t be able to reverse your decision. When the time expires, you can choose to set another blocker; if you decide you don’t want to, your bank will permit gambling transactions from your bank or card again.
Setting a time-sensitive gambling transaction blocker is a good choice if you’ve found yourself playing too much recently and would like to take a break.
Longer-Term Gambling Transaction Blockers
With some banks, you can block gambling transactions from your account for an indefinite period. Usually, all you need to do is turn these on in your online banking settings; they’ll remain switched on for as long as you want.
In addition to gambling transaction blockers, some banks offer extra support to help you out. This might include consultation or pointing you in the direction of help from dedicated charities.
Using a longer-term gambling transaction blocker is a good idea if you have developed – or are beginning to develop – negative gambling habits.
Mandatory Gambling Transaction Blockers
Some payment services in the UK do not allow gambling transactions, either partially or through a total ban. Since the country’s legal gambling age is 18, Natwest automatically blocks all attempted online casino deposits and the like for account holders aged between 11 and 17.
In other cases, you’re not allowed to use a payment service to gamble whatsoever. Wise, formerly known as TransferWise, is one example of this. You’ll typically find details of gambling restrictions in your payment provider’s terms and conditions.
Do I Need to Wait Before I Can Gamble Again After Turning Off a Transaction Blocker?
When you disable a gambling transaction blocker, many banks will have a cooling-off period before lifting all restrictions.
The time you’ll need to wait before gambling again differs from bank to bank. HSBC, for example, has a 24-hour cooling period. Lloyds, on the other hand, lasts for between two and three days.
Do I Have to Pay for Gambling Transaction Blockers?
Not for the most part, no. Many banks will offer gambling transaction blockers free of charge; the only requirement is that you have an account with them.
However, you can pay for a transaction blocker if you want to. Gamban, for example, allows you to use its features for £2.49 per month (or £24.99 per year if you pay annually).
With Gamban, you can make the most of a seven-day free trial. Some banks will also offer you free use of this platform for a couple of months before you need to pay.
How Do I Activate Gambling Transaction Blockers?
With most banks, you’ll need to activate the gambling transaction blocker yourself.
In most cases, you can access this feature by going into your bank’s mobile app. The location of gambling transaction blockers may vary depending on your provider, so it’s a good idea to check your bank’s website for specific instructions.
Which UK Payment Services Offer Gambling Transaction Blockers?
Having got this far, you should now have a good idea of what kinds of gambling transaction blockers are available, along with how you can activate them. All that’s left to do is pick a banking service that offers these features.
Below, you’ll find three UK banking services that offer gambling transaction blockers to their customers.
As one of the country’s most popular mobile banking services, Monzo has taken a proactive approach towards tackling gambling-related issues in the UK. Its transaction blocker was the first of its kind and launched in 2018, with over 300,000 customers activating this option since it went live.
With the Monzo gambling transaction blocker, you can stop yourself from making these transfers for however long you want. You can turn the feature off but will need to wait 48 hours before you can gamble again.
Barclays wasn’t far behind Monzo in launching a gambling transaction blocker; its service went live in December 2018. In the time since then, more than 570,000 customers have used the feature to curb their habits.
When you switch on Barclays’ gambling transaction blocker, the bank will automatically reject any payments you attempt to make to online casinos. You can turn the feature off again but will have to wait 72 hours before Barclays accepts your transactions.
Revolut is another popular mobile bank and offers all customers an option to block gambling payments from their accounts. You can activate the feature by signing into the mobile app and going to your settings.
To switch off the blocker, you’ll need to go back into your account. However, you will have to wait 48 hours before you can deposit at an online casino site.
Protect Yourself With Gambling Transaction Blockers
When playing at your favourite casino, it’s essential to ensure that your sessions don’t last for too long. There are time limiting options available at licensed online casinos to help you manage the time you spend on-site. You should also check in with yourself regularly to ensure that you aren’t playing for the wrong reasons – such as to chase losses.
While not yet available across the board, most UK banks will offer you some kind of gambling transaction blocker. Cooling-off periods vary but are there to protect you from further harm.
You’ll find an option to fit whatever your needs are with gambling transaction blockers, but there are steps you can take to maintain control of your gambling before requiring such services. A good rule of thumb to follow throughout your time gambling is to never deposit or bet more than you can afford to lose. Combining this with resisting the urge to chase losses, only gambling whilst sober and clear-headed, and seeking help at the first sign of trouble will go a long way towards keeping you safe while you gamble online. If things start to take a turn, remember that these services and many more are available to help you regain control.