UK Bans Gambling on Credit Cards
The United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC) has announced that betting with credit cards is to be banned in an effort to tackle the growingcrisis of problem gambling in the UK.
As of April 14, companies in the UK will no longer be permitted to accept credit card payments for the purposes of gambling.
What will the ban cover?
Following two separate reviews by the UKGC and UK government into online gambling and gambling related harm, the decision was made to not only ban the use of credit cards for online gambling, but also offline betting,with the exception of over-the-counter National Lottery tickets.
The ban won’t only cover direct payments with credit cards but also e-wallets that have been funded by credit cards, although some have suggested the restrictions don’t go far enough and should also include payday loans as well as online payment methods such as PayPal and Skrill.
Why is this ban being introduced?
The new rules are being introduced is response to growing concerns overproblem gambling, which has led to campaigners and politicians to call for greater restrictionswithin the industry.
Research by the UK Gambling Commission has found that an estimated 24 million adults in the UK gamble, with 10.5 million of those choosing to gamble online. The thinktank UK Finance has produced data showing that some 800,000 people in the UK use credit cards to gamble.
Neil McArthur, CEO of the Gambling Commission 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.”
Helen Whately, the UK Culture Minister, 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.”
The latest regulatory measure
The ban on the use of credit cards for the purposes of gambling is just themost recentsafe gamblingmeasure to be introduced in the UK. In the same week it was announced that, as of March 31, it would now be a licencing requirement that all online gambling companies operating in the UK register with GamStop.
GamStopis a self-exclusion scheme that a player can sign up to if they feel they have developed a gambling problem.Once enrolled, the player will be unable to sign up or log in to any UKGC licenced casino for the duration of the exclusion period they have requested.
“It is vitally important that online casinos operating in the UK continue to do their upmost to protect players by registering with GamStop,” states Lucy Jacobs from the UK casino widely considered as one of the best online casinos in the UK for player safety, PlayFrank.
“PlayFrankare ready to do what ever it takes to ensure that casino players in the UK are able to play their favourite casino games in a safe and secure environment.”
As well as this, the UKGC recently banned ‘feature buy’ options(where players can buy their way into bonus rounds)from online slot games. It’s also planning aninvestigation into the English Football Association’s new deal withvarious gambling companies, which allows them to streamthe FA’sgamesto anyone who signs up to their websites. The deal has led to criticism from the UK government and they are now calling for it to be pulled.
It’s expected that gambling regulations will be tightened even furtherin the coming years, with the UK government confirming that a review of the 2005 Gambling Act was under way.
What will the credit card ban mean for the industry and players?
The gambling industry in the UK is substantial, with revenuesreaching £14.4 billion between 2018 and 2019, and onlinegamblingmaking up £5.36 billion of that figure. Some £2.1 billion of the revenue came from online slot games alone. Following the announcement of a ban on the use of credit cards, shares in leading UK gambling companies fell initially, but soon recovered. It’s not known what the long-term implications of the credit card ban will be, but for players it will be business as usual when they log in to play their favourite online casino games.The new rules will have no impact on casino game choice, only the deposit methods now open to players, and despite credit cards soon to no longer be an option, there remainmany other payment solutions for players, including e-wallets, bank transfers and, of course, debit cards.