HSBC Rolls a 72-Hour Cooling Period to Protect Consumers amid Gambling Spike

The cooling-off by HSBC UK has been increased to 72 hours from 24 hours amid reports that gaming revenue and active accounts are increasing.

HSBC Introduces 72 Cooling-off Period to Counterweigh Increase in Gambling

HSBC UK has decided to extend its cooling-off period that prohibits gamblers who have been playing excessively from using money on gambling products with the period now 72 hours from previously 24 hours.

The news follows an announcement by the UK Gambling Commission, the country’s regulator, that the overall gross gaming yield from gambling products has increased by 29% and there has been a 7% increase in the number of active accounts, pointing to heightened activity amid the pandemic.

HSBC was one of the first financial institutions in the world and the United Kingdom to introduce bans on the use of credit cards for the purposes of gambling. The bank began working actively in addressing problem gambling in 2019 and has collaborated with government representatives as well as the regulator.

Commenting on the latest decision, HSBC UK Head of Financial Inclusion and Vulnerability Maxine Pritchard said that the bank was aware by the challenges faced by customers and it sought to actively alleviate these problems.

Bumping the restriction to 72 hours will help customers take the time necessary to walk away from gambling and not be as tempted to play, she said. HSBC continues committed to finding new ways to protect consumers, Pritchard said and added that the institution is looking to find new ways to assist customers in helping them self-check their gambling habits.

A Solution That Works, Says HSBC

HSBC is working with GamCare to design even more advanced solutions that deliver provable results. Once a consumer opts into HSBC’s restriction tool, it will block all transactions to gambling websites, applying for all forms of transactions, and specifically those with debit cards.

The option can be turned on via the bank’s app. Furthermore, HSBC is prepared to assist vulnerable customers or those who are showing reckless gambling behavior with the bank willing to refer such individuals to independent third-parties who may be more prepared to assist.

Commenting on the tools used to restrict gambling habits, GamCare CEO Anna Hemmings said that the use of tools to stop consumers from gambling excessively through their apps and debit cards was an important solution that allowed people to stay safe.

Furthermore, Hemmings cited the University of Bristol Personal Finance Research Centre which has confirmed that cooling-off periods are a good way to help consumers moderate their excessive urges to gamble.

The UKGC introduced a ban on all credit cards transactions used for the purposes of gambling in January 2020. Similar moves have been undertaken by other countries, including in Australia, where Bank Australia has suspended credit card payments designated for gambling products as well.

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