HSBC says it is concerned over rise in unlicensed internet gambling
The major banking group HSBC has placed a ban on its customers using their bank credit cards for online gambling transactions, citing concerns at the spread of unlicensed gambling, according to reports over the weekend in the Malta Independent Online news site.
The publication reports that Maltco, the island's lottery provider, has advised agents to choose another bank before the end of May, when the ban presumably becomes effective.
HSBC's group public affairs manager in Hong Kong, David Hall, told the newspaper that the bank had acted on legal advice, and defended the decision not to announce the move or give notice.
HSBC apparently stopped authorising online gambling transactions some months ago, although a number of card holders interviewed by the Malta Independent said their transactions on gambling sites were only blocked last week.
Asked about this contradiction, Hall said that such transactions were not the norm.
"We did not issue a press release [on the ban]," he said. "If you have an illegal site and you put out a notice saying you won't allow transactions involving an illegal site, it would be perverse."
The bank's customer representatives also appear to have been kept in the dark. Of three representatives contacted by The Independent on the bank's credit-card hotline, only one was aware of the prohibition.
Online Casino News Courtesy of Infopowa