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HSBC Increases Gambling Cooling Off Period to 72 Hours

Research has found that the UK’s lockdown has led to an increase in online gambling. In response, HSBC UK (LON: HSBA) and first direct have increased the cooling off period in their gambling block feature to 72 hours from 24.

After being activated, the tool prevents customers from making gambling payments from their accounts. It will automatically decline all gambling transactions for three days to help those fighting the urge to gamble.

Data from the United Kingdom Gambling Commission shows a month-on-month increase of 27% in gross gambling yield during lockdown and a 7% increase in active accounts.

Maxine Pritchard HSBC UK Head of Financial Inclusion and Vulnerability

This is a challenging time for many of our customers, with some not working and perhaps facing financial difficulty. By increasing the restriction to 72 hours, this will help give our customers time to pause when they are tempted to return to gambling.

We are always looking for new ways to support our customers and make it easier for them to manage their finances. Customer feedback on our gambling control showed us there was more we could do to help and we’ve worked closely with them and with GamCare to design the solution.

Maxine PritchardHSBC UK Head of Financial Inclusion and Vulnerability

Customers of HSBC UK and first direct can activate the block from the ‘Manage Cards’ section in the mobile app, via telephone banking, or by visiting a branch.

The move was also praised by the CEO of gambling charity GamCare, Anna Hemmings. She described it as an “important tool" that should be used in conjunction with other tools, such as self-exclusion, blocking software, and specialist support. She added, “The University of Bristol Personal Finance Research Centre has also highlighted that ‘positive friction’ such as a cooling off period is important for the success of blocks, as this prevents them being turned off in the event of urges to gamble.”

Furthermore, both HSBC UK and first direct have specialist support teams to help vulnerable customers, and the teams are able to refer customers to external organizations when necessary.

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