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Tuesday, 14 January 2020

UK Gambling Commission Announces Ban On Gambling With Credit Cards

Gambling Addiction

The UK Gambling Commission has announced a ban on gambling with credit cards.

We reported yesterday that the UK’s gambling regulator was gearing up to announce a ban on gambling with credit cards this week. Well, today (January 14), the UK Gambling Commission has announced that gambling with credit cards will be banned at online gambling websites from April 14th, 2020.

The decision to ban credit cards comes after the UK Gambling Commission reviewed online gambling and held a consultation on the use of credit cards and after the UK government reviewed how the gambling industry can contribute to the economy while also be safely regulated to protect gamers.

According to The Guardian, which first reported the Commission’s announcement, the ban may also cover e-Wallet payments such as PayPal but that has yet to be confirmed. However, the Commission has stated that the credit card ban will apply to all online and offline gambling services except lotteries.

In the Commission’s official announcement, the regulator stated that 24 million adults in the UK gamble and around 10.5 million of them gamble online. UK Finance estimates that around 800,000 customers use credit cards while separate research by the Commission states that 22% of online gamblers using credit cards are classified as problem gamblers.

What They Say

Neil McArthur, the Chief Executive of the Gambling Commission, said in a statement: “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.”

He continued: “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. But we will evaluate the ban and watch closely for any unintended circumstances for consumers.

“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.”

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 in funding towards treatment for problem gamblers.”

She continued: “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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