The Gambling Commission has released new guidelines to all online casino and gambling operators that may affect the way you play. Since the lockdown began, the GC has already banned the use of credit cards for online gambling. Now, operators are being advised to put a block on all withdrawal reversals, meaning once you decide to withdraw your winnings there’s no going back.
At all online bingo or casino sites, once a player withdraws money from their balance there is a period of time where that withdrawal is processed. After the processing is complete, the money is sent to the bank and ultimately, ends up back in the player’s bank account.
At many sites, up until the moment that the money is processed and sent to the bank, the player is able to go in and cancel the withdrawal process. Then, they can continue playing on the site with the funds available as balance in their account, potentially losing it all in the process. When this withdrawal reversal block is live that won’t be an option on any sites with a UK license.
These changes are a positive step for protecting potentially vulnerable players, as many people may be tempted to cancel a large withdrawal and continue playing. Some may get lucky, but most will ultimately end up losing their winnings, which may drive them to chase losses and spend more than they intended.
These new guidelines are part of the Gambling Commission’s plans to monitor problem gamblers and reduce harm during COVID-19 related lockdown. The advice also includes instructions for operators to make contact with players who have gambled for more than one hour at a time, in an effort to get ahead of any potential gambling related harm.
The CEO of the UK Gambling Commission, Neil MacArthur is taking no prisoners when it comes to responsible gambling measures right now, saying “We will continue to monitor and publish the data that we are collecting, and we will take further measures if required,” he continues, “We are monitoring online operators closely and if we see irresponsible behaviour we will step in immediately, suspending licences if we need to.”
The block on reversed withdrawals is being put in place until further notice, and whilst it was introduced to directly combat gambling harm that could be exacerbated by the lockdown, who knows whether it will ever be lifted once we are allowed to go back to work and socialise like before. If I was a gambling man, I would say probably not.