UKGC enforces credit card gambling ban

Simona Boshkova | Published 14 Apr 2020, 9:22 a.m.

The UK Gambling Commission maintains its 2020 regulatory plan. Last week, we reported that the regulator published reasons for suspending Triplebet’s licence. As it seems, Triplebet is accused of serious money laundering and social responsibility failures and is up to pay the highest penalty that any operator has been issued so far.

In addition, the UKGC published its Business Plan for 2020/21 where key priorities and measures for reducing gambling harm are included. The Commission addresses the need for improving customer protection and the importance of providing a safe gambling environment.

Back in January 2020, the UKGC announced credit card gambling ban which was essential for providing a “further layer of protection”. The Commission took this measure in order to make the UK gambling safer. Now, the regulator has maintained its plan and enforced its ban across all online and offline gambling verticals, except for the non-remote lotteries.

The ban was necessary for protecting at-risk customers

The credit card gambling ban was approved in January and became the Commission’s first industry-wide regulatory enforcement for 2020. In its January announcement, the Commission detailed that the ban was necessary to protect at-risk customers. Therefore, the ban on credit card use for gambling transactions takes effect from today, April 14, as originally announced.

In its research, the regulator found out that 22% of online gamblers that use credit cards to wager are classed as problem gamblers. The Commission had a year-long consultation on online gambling, focusing on reviewing regulatory structures and industry safeguards, and came up with the solution of banning credit cards.

The UKGC Chief Executive, Neil McArthur, gave his statement explaining why the decision of credit card gambling ban was necessary. He reminded that using credit cards to fund gambling could cause significant financial harm. On that account, the ban that the UKGC enforced should minimise the risks of harm to consumers from gambling with money they do not have. What’s more, the measure would also ensure that customers would not be able to accumulate huge debts through gambling because of credit card availability.

The Commission will continue working on new measures

As announced, UKGC will continue working on its 2020 regulatory agenda, supported by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). The Commission will proceed to work with the financial sector incumbents and technology firms on betting compliance and problem gambling concerns.

The UKGC and DCMS are looking for guidance on how new technologies combined with consumer data can help improve the UK’s gambling policy standards and best practices. Helen Whately, the UK Culture Minister, supports the work of UKGC and DCMS. As she explained, there is clear evidence of harm from consumers wagering money they don’t own, so it is absolutely right to protect them. She added that they will be reviewing the Gambling Act to make sure that it is fit for the digital age. Moreover, they will launch a new nationwide addiction strategy in 2020.

As we already reported, according to research carried out by UK Finance, it is estimated that about 800,000 British residents use credit cards to gamble. Neil McArthur noted that the Commission is aware of these figures and that credit card ban would probably create some inconvenience to the players. However, the Commission’s goal is to protect the players and reduce the risk of harm, and that’s why actions like this must be taken.