Halifax, a Bank of Scotland subsidiary, has announced the rollout of its ‘gambling card freeze’ feature. The new feature will be available to all UK account holders which provide them protection from problematic gambling.
Gambling card freeze will disable a user’s card from processing transactions on gambling websites. It is available to users via the Halifax mobile app. With a simple click, the users will block their cards and gamble more responsibly. The feature also comes with a ‘defrost’ period which will include a 48-hour waiting time before unfreezing gambling transactions. It will help avoid instances of impulsive gambling and protect users during vulnerable times.
Halifax has partnered with Warwick University to understand problematic gambling and its impact. The study will help the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) get a more comprehensive view of problem gambling in the region. Speaking about gambling-related harm, its managing director of consumer finance, Elyn Corfield said that the company is aware of people spending a significant portion of their income on wagering. She said that such players are more likely to end up with financial issues.
Corfield also said that a defrost period helps those who may make an impulsive return to problematic gambling habits. As the largest regulated iGaming market, the UK has faced significant concerns over problematic gambling and addiction. Gambling-related harm has been found to be associated with loss of health, wealth and a negative influence on players’ personal and work relationships.
Institutions like Halifax are responding to the UKGC’s strict gambling policies. The UKGC’s Responsible Gambling Strategy Board advises that borrowed funds could lead to consumers gambling above their means. HSBC Bank also announced a new self-exclusion scheme for its UK customers which allows them to prohibit gambling transactions on sports betting websites and online casinos. The HSBC block also comes with a 24-hour waiting time to help reduce the chances of impulsive gambling.
This year, the regulator reduced maximum stakes on fixed-odds betting machines (FOBTs) from £100 to £2. FOBTs were known as the crack-cocaine of gambling. Several operators support the regulator and are planning to advertise more responsibility.