UKGC announces credit card gambling ban

Viktor Vangelov | Published 15 Jan 2020, 2:48 p.m.

It has been reported, on several occasions that credit card gambling in the UK will be prohibited, or at least restricted. The UKGC has been considering banning credit card gambling for a while and this is another one in a series of restrictive measures imposed on the online gambling industry.

Since April 2019, there is a limit on the amount that a player can wager on FOBTs, i.e. the previous limit of £100 was slashed to £2. Many operators complained that the new FOBTs £2 stake limit will have a very negative impact on their performance and many of the major betting operators initially announced that they will be closing down a number of shops and that a lot of people will have to lose their jobs.

It turned out that this decision had an impact on the industry, but not as significant as everybody suspected. This was just one of the many initiatives that hit the industry. In September last year, operators’ representatives were drilled at Westminster and it was pretty clear right there and then that other restrictive decisions will follow.

This time we’re reporting on another decision that will be implemented from April onward. Namely, the UK Gambling commission has reached a decision to implement a ban on credit card gambling.

About 800K Brits use credit cards to gamble

Starting from the 14th of April, it will no longer be possible to make a deposit and place a wager using a credit card, as many of the players who are gambling using credit cards are problem gamblers.

According to UKGC figures, a total of 24 million people in Britain gamble, or have gambled at least once, with over 45% of them gambling online. It is estimated that about 800,000 of them used credit cards to gamble. The most worrying insight is that 22% of the people who gamble using credit cards are classified as problem gamblers and if we consider those who are at risk, the figure will be much higher.

The goal of the ban is to provide an added degree of security in order to protect vulnerable individuals. The only form of gambling to which the ban will not apply is non-remote lotteries.

Other measures will follow

As with other decisions made by the Gambling Commission, the Chief Executive, Neil McArthur, released a statement explaining the decision and its goal. McArthur said that the ban should decrease the gambling harm risks, as it will stop people from gambling with money they don’t have.

There are many examples of players who stacked up large debts as a result of credit card gambling. Credit card charges only worsen the situation, as players end up chasing losses. The chief of the Commission admits that some people use credit cards simply because they are more convenient, adding that this still doesn’t justify leaving credit cards as an option. As he put it, it was more important to decrease the harm, even if that causes a minor inconvenience for some.

However, McArthur added that simply banning credit cards will not be sufficient and that it has to be accompanied by other measures. The ban may be the last enacted measure of a series of other measures, but it will definitely not be the last one.

Helen Whatley, the current Culture Minister also expressed her opinion on the matter, saying that despite the fact that millions gamble responsibly, those who are at harm have to be protected.

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