For many, the writing has been on the wall for a long time while for some, it came as a surprise. On 14th January 2020, the UK Gambling Commission officially announced a ban on casino operators, bookmakers and other gambling establishments allowing UK players and bettors to use credit cards for deposits.
According to the commission, they estimate that 800,000 people are using credit cards to gamble from which roughly a quarter is considered as problem gamblers. In order to protect this vulnerable group and future addicts from gambling on credit that will only increase their financial woes, the UKGC issued the ban after a lengthy consultation with all parties involved. The ban will go into effect on 14th April 2020, after which date casino operators and bookmakers will need to have procedures in place to make sure credit cards cannot be used for deposits at their brands.
From reading the complete announcement, it wasn’t immediately clear whether the ban will affect credits cards only or whether it includes debit cards which are widely used in Great Britain. We have communicated with the UKGC but have not received a firm answer at press time.
We at GMBLRS welcome all measures that reinforce Responsible Gambling and never stop highlighting that players should only use funds for gambling they can easily afford to lose. Doing it on credit is literally calling for trouble as not only will the amount charged to the cards have to be paid back but credit cards usually come with hefty interest rates that often exceed 20% per annum and thus further exacerbating the financial problems vulnerable people and addicted gamblers might be already in.
Neil McArthur – Gambling Commission chief executive: “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.” and adding: “We realise that this change will inconvenience those consumers who use credit cards responsibly but we are satisfied that reducing the risk of harm to other consumers means that action must be taken.”
Issuing the ban will see the United Kingdom joining an evergrowing list of countries that have prohibited the use of credit cards at gambling establishments. Some included debit cards in their ban, meaning gamblers have to resort to e-wallets and prepaid cards if they wish to bet online. In turn, e-wallets have often introduced similar restrictions, thus curbing the access to gambling funds for many responsible gamblers and addicts alike. Time will tell if the credit card ban will be the last we hear from the UK Gambling Commission or whether there is more on the horizon.