Credit card gambling to be banned in the UK

Gambling with credit cards will soon be banned in the UK, the Gambling Commission confirmed today. 

The new law will come into force from 14th April 2020, applying to both on and offline products. 

Why is credit card gambling being banned?

According to Gambling Commission statistics, over a fifth (22%) of credit card bettors in the UK are considered to be problem gamblers. The decision to forbid this payment method was made following analysis by both the commission and government. 

According to a recent article in The Sunday Times, industry members expected this kind of ban to be introduced.

Neil McArthur, Chief Executive of the Gambling Commission, explained why this ban was perceived as necessary. He 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. 

“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.”

McArthur also mentioned that credit card fees can accelerate the chasing of losses. 

How will this affect gambling in the UK?

The only exception to the credit card ban will be tickets bought from lotteries that operate for good causes. While the commission mentioned the lowest problem gambling rate was within this vertical, lottery companies must still have strong player protection measures in place. 

Tickets for these lotteries, plus the National Lottery, can still be purchased in newsagents and supermarkets beyond 14th April. However, they must be bought along with other items. The Gambling Commission believed that it would be a “disproportionate burden” to forbid credit card payments in this context. 

As well as the above, all UK online operators must become part of the Gamstop self-exclusion scheme from 31st March 2020. Moreover, all registered players must be offered the chance to join this initiative. 

Brigid Simmons, Chairwoman of the Betting and Gaming Council, supported the new Gamstop rules. She also mentioned that: “We will implement a ban on credit cards which adds to measures such as age verification, markers of harm and affordability checks, additional funding for research, education and treatment and new codes of conduct to protect the consumer.”

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