UKGC confirms credit card gambling ban includes MSBs

Simona Boshkova | Published 11 Jun 2020, 9:38 a.m.

The UK Gambling Commission has come with a range of statements and enforcement activities in the last few weeks. For example, the regulator has revealed its six-month industry statistics report on the UK gambling industry. This report is published twice a year and includes an overview of the country’s gambling sector.

Furthermore, UKGC published its findings of an investigation into PT Entertainment Services which showed serious social responsibility, anti-money laundering and VIP failings. As explained, the Commission decided to publish its findings in order for the operators to learn from the identified issues.

However, the biggest news from the Commission came back in January when the regulator announced that there’ll be a credit card gambling ban. According to UKGC, the ban was necessary for protecting at-risk customers and was enforced in April. Now, the Commission has provided additional guidance for UK operators that accept payments by credit card through money service businesses (MSBs).

The ban extends to payments made through any MSB

In a statement on its website, the UK Gambling Commission has reminded operators that the credit card gambling ban extends to payments made by credit card through any money service business (MSB), such as an e-wallet. Its new licence condition 6.1.2 prevents gambling operators from accepting payments by credit card either directly or through any MSB.

In the published guidance, UKGC explained that one of its main goals with this ban was to maximise the levels of friction during the process of accessing and using borrowed funds for gambling. This should reduce the risk of consumers experiencing harm from gambling with borrowed money. Therefore, the regulator urged its licensees to ensure that the credit card ban cannot be outsmarted by “topping up an e-wallet or online money transfer account directly from a credit card”.

Before accepting payments via MSB, all gambling operators must ensure that the customers cannot fund their e-wallets with credit card deposits unless the MSB has prevented the use of credit cards for gambling through their services. This, for example, includes situations where an MSB allows its customers to transfer funds from a credit card into a wallet which can be used for gambling deposits.

The banking provider Revoult as an example

In response to gambling operators, the Commission highlighted the example of the banking services provider Revolut, which has confirmed that its users are able to add money to their Revolut accounts by using credit cards. Therefore, gambling companies are obligated to implement measures to put systems in place to prevent gambling payments from such products.  

UKGC believes it is important to note that there may be other e-money businesses that operate with similar services as Revoult through which customers could make credit card deposits and then use the money for gambling. For that reason, the regulator reminded operators that the must take a couple of actions before accepting payments via any MSB:

  • they must ensure that customers of that MSB cannot fund their e-wallets with credit card deposits and then use those funds for gambling; 
  • they will need to reject all payments made through MSBs that have not developed a ‘block’ to prevent credit card deposits for gambling through their e-wallets.