More people turn to banking tools that block them from gambling amid cost of living crisis | UK News

More people have been turning to tools that block them from gambling amid the cost of living crisis.

Online bank Monzo revealed that it has seen 50,000 of its customers make use of its gambling block tool for the first time over the past six months.

This is a third more than the number of people who started using it in the previous six months.

The lender also blocked 20% more transactions than it did in the prior period, it said.

It added that half a million of its nearly seven million customers have used the gambling block since it launched in June 2018.

The optional tool helps people to curb a gambling addiction by blocking transactions to a betting company through their current account.

And amid growing cost pressures, rising inflation, and shrinking household budgets, it seems more people are turning to the tool.

Once switched on, customers can only deactivate the block by contacting the customer support team and then waiting 48 hours to disable it in the app. This is done to prevent people from acting compulsively.

Online gambling has moved at a dizzying pace into the online era – with casinos and betting shops replaced by smartphones and apps.

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Financial Crisis: Explained

Rise in harmful gambling

Charities have highlighted a rise in harmful gambling in line with cost of living pressures worsening in the UK.

GambleAware recently said it had serious concerns that people, particularly women, expect to gamble more in the coming months in an attempt to supplement their household income.

It also warned that December could see a “perfect storm” of the cost of living crisis, the run-up to Christmas, and the football World Cup pushing more people to resort to betting to cope.

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Other big banks have followed Monzo’s lead, with the likes of Lloyds Bank, NatWest and Chase introducing similar features on their mobile apps.

Last month, Lloyds Bank also introduced personalised gambling spend limits for its customers, which it said was the first of its kind for a UK high-street bank.

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Since the government announced plans to reform gambling laws in 2019, there have been constant delays to the white paper.