Following the Gambling Commission’s review of online gambling and the Government’s review of gaming machines and social responsibility measures, the UKGC has announced a ban on gambling operators allowing customers to use credit cards to gamble. The ban will come into effect on April 14th which will result in players from the UK being unable to deposit at online gambling websites via credit cards.
Between August and November 2019, a public consultation was carried out with figures presented. Of the 24million adults that gamble in Great Britain, 10.5milion of those gamblers online and UK Finance estimates that approximately 800,000 consumers use credit cards to do so.
The Commission carried out research of their own and of the 800,000 that use credit cards to play online casino games or online bingo games as well as other gambling activities, 22% were classed as problem gamblers – but even more than this were showing signs of harm.
All online and offline gambling products will be affected by the upcoming ban, with the exception of non-remote lotteries. This move will provide a significant layer of protection to those vulnerable to gambling related harm.
Ban on Financial Harm
Neil McArthur, Gambling Commission chief executive, said:
“Credit card gambling can lead to significant financial harm. The ban that we have announced today should minimise the risks of harm to consumers from gambling with money they do not have. Research shows that 22% of online gamblers using credit cards are problem gamblers, with even more suffering some form of gambling harm.”
“We also know that there are examples of consumers who have accumulated tens of thousands of pounds of debt through gambling because of credit card availability. There is also evidence that the fees charged by credit cards can exacerbate the situation because the consumer can try to chase losses to a greater extent.”
McArthur said he understood that some consumers only used credit cards for convenience, but the risk of harm to others was too high to continue the use of credit cards with gambling.
“We realise that this change will inconvenience those consumers who use credit cards responsibly, but we are satisfied that reducing the risk of harm to other consumers means that action must be taken.” he said. “But we will evaluate the ban and watch closely for any unintended circumstances for consumers.”
The ban is a major step forward in tackling problem gamblers and will protect many who are believed to be at risk, however McArthur warned that other efforts need to be enforced.
“The ban is part of our ongoing work to reduce gambling harm. We also need to continue the work we have been doing with gambling operators and the finance industry to ensure consumers only gamble with money they can afford to spend.”
At last year’s public consultation, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) met with banking groups and gambling operators to discuss growing concerns. Plus, talks on how companies could use technology and customer data to help those who were deemed at risk, including those using credit cards.
Culture Minister Helen Whately said:
“Whilst millions gamble responsibly, I have also met people whose lives have been turned upside down by gambling addiction. There is clear evidence of harm from consumers betting with money they do not have, so it is absolutely right that we act decisively to protect them.”
“In the past year we have introduced a wave of tougher measures, including cutting the maximum stake on fixed odds betting terminals, bringing in tighter age and identity checks for online gambling and expanding national specialist support through the NHS Long Term Plan. We have also secured a series of commitments from five leading gambling operators that will include £100 million funding towards treatment for problem gamblers.”
Whatley concluded with: “But there is more to do. We will be carrying out a review of the Gambling Act to ensure it is fit for the digital age and we will be launching a new nationwide addiction strategy in 2020. We will not hesitate to take any further action necessary to protect people from gambling harm.”
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Member's Feedback (1)
Bubles12 01/17/20, 06:01:12 PM
This is a good move in my opinion. If you have no funds, then you can’t gamble. Many use credit cards as if the money is not real. Whether you win or lose, you need...
This is a good move in my opinion. If you have no funds, then you can’t gamble. Many use credit cards as if the money is not real. Whether you win or lose, you need to pay that company back and most can’t do this.Show more