UK industry regulator the Gambling Commission has announced that from April 2020, players will no longer be able to use a credit card to gamble online.
Ban from 14th of April 2020
The new law comes into force on the 14th of April (2010) and applies to all forms of offline and online gambling apart from lotteries. The ban is part of the government’s attempts to curb problem gambling and follows the reduction in maximum stakes allowed on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals from £100 to £2.
UKGC’s Chief Executive quotes
“Credit card gambling can lead to significant financial harm,” said Neil McArthur, Gambling Commission chief executive.
“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.”
Inconvenience to responsible customers
McArthur acknowledged that the move would “inconvenience those consumers who use credit cards responsibly” but added that “reducing the risk of harm to other consumers means that action must be taken.”
Around 800,000 people are estimated to use a credit card to wager.
Quotes from Culture Minister
Culture Minister Helen Whately added, “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.”
Operators must use GAMSTOP scheme
The Gambling Commission also announced changes to its licence conditions. From the 31st of March 2020, all operators must participate in the GAMSTOP scheme. For more details, read the Gambling Commissions’ statement on the above.