Bacta CEO John White has given evidence to the UK Treasury Select Committee.
UK.- John White, the CEO of the gaming hall trade association Bacta, has told MPs that venues are concerned they are being “unfairly treated” by the banking sector. Giving evidence to the Treasury Select Committee, he said Bacta members had experienced having services withdrawn “at short notice”.
White told the committee headed by Conservative Party MP Harriett Baldwin: “We want to confirm that a number of our members have had their banking facilities suddenly and unexpectedly removed. The reasons given are that the banks consider gambling, even low stake low prize activities such as ours, as a money laundering risk – which is nothing short of preposterous.
“Furthermore, we have been told that banks consider gambling to pose a reputational risk which, they say, offends their Corporate Social Responsibility policies.”
He added: “Irrespective of anyone’s moral perspective on gambling, there should be no circumstances other than illegality, for a bank not to offer banking services to any of our members.”
White warned of the impact that banks’ unexpected decisions can have on members’ businesses. He said: “The time and cost of finding another bank is significant. The debt position of customers can be severely impacted and lending facilities cannot simply be replicated.
“It appears that a moral or political judgement is being made about a business, with little if any real transparency or opportunity to challenge a decision. Small to medium-sized businesses are simply not resourced to take on a big bank.”
Earlier in the summer, Bacta gave evidence to the government’s Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee. It has been pressing for the government to speed up the introduction of debit card payments for gaming halls and ease requirements for foreign workers due to a labour shortage affecting the industry.
See also: Bacta names John Bollom as president