New regulation introduced by the Gambling Commission will see customers banned from making deposits using credit cards. The new reform which comes into effect on 14 April 2020 is designed to reduce the issue of problem gambling and the use of credit card fees which can further exacerbate the problem of related gambling debt.
There are an estimated 20 million people in the UK that gamble, with around 10 million of these doing so online. Of the £14 billion generated through casinos and gambling in the last year, around £5.36 billion of this was generated through gambling online through sports betting, slots, poker and using casino bonuses.
Neil McArthur, Gambling Commission chief executive, 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.
“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.”
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.”
Lotteries treated differently
The new ban will apply to all online and offline gambling products except lotteries that are run for good causes and also tend to appeal to a different audience and not necessarily the most vulnerable in society.
The commission said that tickets for these lotteries, as well as for the National Lottery, can be bought using credit cards in supermarkets and newsagents.
It said it would be a “disproportionate burden on retailers” to stop credit card payments if the tickets were part of a wider shop, but said lotteries had the lowest problem gambling rate.
All gambling operators to join the Gamstop self-exclusion scheme
Under the new regulations, all online gambling operators will have to participate in the Gamstop self-exclusion scheme and offer it to all customers from 31 March.
People who sign up for Gamstop are restricted from using British gambling websites and apps for a chosen period of time. However, some casino companies have continued to show ads to this audience as those new in 2020 are always looking for ways to attract customers.
Brigid Simmonds, chairwoman of the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC), said the industry body “strongly” welcomed the requirement for all companies to join GamStop.