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Question for Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

UIN HL10375, tabled on 16 November 2020

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Barran on 10 November (HL9946), what representations they have made to the Gambling Commission to encourage building societies to introduce gambling blocks on personal current accounts and credit cards.

Answered on

30 November 2020

The government works closely with the Gambling Commission to minimise gambling harms and recognises the important role that financial service providers can play in helping their customers monitor and manage their gambling spend. The Commission cannot set controls on financial institutions, however in April this year, new licencing conditions came into effect which banned gambling operators from accepting payments from credit cards, including via e-wallets. The Commission and government engage all areas of the financial sector to actively encourage service providers to adopt effective measures like opt-in gambling blocks. While this extends to building societies where applicable, most building societies principally offer savings products and mortgages which cannot be accessed using debit cards. The Commission has approved funding for a two year programme to increase action among firms from across the financial sector and recently helped facilitate a dedicated conference with the finance industry on the role they could play in reducing gambling harm. This built on progress made following a Secretary of State-hosted roundtable with leading financial institutions in February last year.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is the UK’s independent regulator of advertising, which enforces the advertising codes set by the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP). The codes set out strict rules on the content and placement of gambling advertising which prohibit adverts being targeted at children or vulnerable people, or seeking to appeal particularly to these groups. CAP is currently consulting on proposed changes to the advertising codes aimed at further restricting the potential for gambling adverts to appeal to children or vulnerable people. Data on children’s exposure to gambling advertising published by the ASA showed that children saw an average of 2.5 gambling adverts per week on TV in 2019, down from a peak of 4.4 per week in 2013.