Gamblers Consumer Forum queries gambling bank account closures

The FCA is a regulatory body that act independently of the UK government.

The GCF alleged that people and companies are being “debanked” for conducting legal gambling transactions. Debanking refers to having bank accounts closed.

It also said that individuals are being debanked for having links to the industry.

In the letter, the GCF wrote that it had “deep concerns” regarding reports of bookmakers losing access to bank accounts.

“Regulated and licensed”

“We write on behalf of those in the gambling industry currently experiencing increasing and unjust difficulty when legal transactions relating to gambling go through bank accounts,” read the letter.

“We have deep concerns relating to regulated and licenced bookmakers having access to bank accounts removed.”

It added that debanking “impacts the millions of ordinary gamblers in the UK who are simply partaking in a legitimate hobby, and one that supports many of Great Britain’s most iconic sporting industries, such as horse racing”.

Concerns regarding money laundering

The GCF said that the closures are being enacted “under the guise” of anti-money laundering concerns.

The letter referred to the National Risk Assessment of Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing. The GCF said this categorises the gambling industry as having a “low likelihood of being abused for money laundering purposes”.

The letter also pointed to the 2022 National Crime Agency Suspicious Activity report. In this report, gaming and leisure accounted for 0.7% of all suspicious activity reports.

“Banking organisations are therefore applying mass exaggeration to what is a clearly defined minute risk in their practise of bank account closures.”

The GCF asked to see the FCA’s current guidance on how gambling transactions should be regarded by banks.

“We would welcome a response on these important and urgent points as soon as possible please.”

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