Credit Card Gambling to be Banned from April
People in the UK will be banned from using credit cards to put on bets, the Gambling Commission has announced.
In 2018, several charities including Citizens Advice and GambleAware called on the government to bring in regulations to help problem gamblers in the UK. This latest announcement from the Gambling Commission comes after the introduction of certain measures such as reducing the maximum stake on fixed-odds betting terminals from £100 to £2.
Under the new rules, gamblers in the UK will not be able to use their credit cards to place bets either online or in betting shops. It is understood that people will still be able to pay for lottery tickets in-store with a credit card. The ban will come into effect on April 14.
According to data from UK Finance, around 24 million Brits gamble, with almost half of those doing so online. Separate research from the Gambling Commission revealed that almost a quarter (22%) of online gamblers that use credit cards are classified as problem gamblers.
“Credit card gambling can lead to significant financial harm,” said Neil McArthur, chief executive of the Gambling Commission. “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.
“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. 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.”
The 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.
“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.”