People in the UK are no longer allowed to use credit cards to gamble, starting from April 14, 2020. The ban was first announced by the UK government and the Gambling Commission in January 2020 as an attempt to reduce problem gambling.
According to reviews of the gambling industry conducted by the commission and the government, around 24 million British adults gamble, out of which 10 million are doing it online. Another research by the Commission shows that 22% of online gamblers who use credit cards to do so have a gambling addiction.
The chief executive of the Gambling Commission, Neil McArthur warns that gambling on credit cards can cause significant financial problems. He believes that the prohibition they announced would cut the risks of financial harm to gamblers who use money they don’t have.
Namely, credit card availability has led online gamblers to rack up tens of thousands of pounds’ worth of debt, McArthur says. What’s more, the fees charged by credit cards can make the situation even worse as the gambler may try to chase losses to a greater extent.
According to Helen Whately, culture minister, millions of people may gamble responsibly, but there are also many people whose lives have been ruined because of problem gambling. It’s clear that people bet with money they don’t have, so Whately feels they did right to protect them.
The ban will be applied to all online and offline forms of gambling (check full list of gambling forms at AussieCasinoHEX.com), with the exception of lotteries run for good causes. However, these lotteries are expected to provide an additional way of protection to people vulnerable to developing problems related to gambling.
The Gambling Commission reported that people can buy tickets for the National Lottery and lotteries run for good causes using credit cards in newsagents and supermarkets only if they buy them with other products.
Reportedly, these lotteries have the lowest rate of problem gambling.
The Betting and Gaming Council makes up 90% of the gambling sector in the UK. The chairman of the organization, Brigid Simmonds, stated that their goal is to provide safer gambling.
As she explains, a ban on credit cards will be implemented as one of the measures to improve consumer protection, along with measures such as age verification.
According to the Gambling Commission, the revenue in the UK’s gambling industry for the period between 2018 and 2019 was over $18 billion, or over £14 billion.
Online gambling has significantly increased during the COVID-19 lockdown. There’s an increase in the use of virtual sports, online slots, and other online products.
That’s why it’s crucial that gambling operators keep users safe, and the ban is one way to achieve that. The Gambling Commission has taken the following measures to improve consumer protection:
• Calling attention to the facilities provided by UK gambling sites which let consumers set a maximum amount of money they can spend on that site.
• Working together with Twitter to let consumers limit the amount of content linked to gambling appearing on their feed.
• Reminding people of the GAMSTOP service which includes asking gambling operators to prevent them from using a particular site for a specific period. This service is offered by all UK licensed gambling sites as of March this year.
• Keeping track of unlicensed non-UK gambling sites targeting people in the UK and taking the necessary action.
Even though the credit card ban is expected to improve the gambling industry in the UK, it’s still not enough to solve the overall gambling problem, the co-founder of the Safer Online Gambling Group, Adam Bradford explains.
As he says, additional measures such as being more careful with gambling advertising and performing better affordability check on gamblers can contribute to solving the problem.
There are millions of people affected by problem gambling which can lead to lives damaged by debt, family breakdown, depression and even suicide. Unfortunately, the new coronavirus pandemic has only made the situation worse.
The credit card ban announced by the Gambling Commission and the UK Government is expected to reduce this problem and redefine the meaning of gambling in the 21st century.