UKGC publishes evaluation of credit card ban

Marta Dimitrov | Published 2 Nov 2021, 11:42 a.m.

The use of credit cards for gambling in the UK was announced in 2020 by the UK Gambling Commission. This new regulation took effectstarting on 14 April 2021 being applicable across all online and offline gambling verticals, except for the non-remote lotteries.

The UK Gambling Commission continues keeping track of the rules and regulations it imposes so as to check their effectiveness and influence on the market and players.

This time it publishes an interim evaluation of the credit card ban where it is concluded that the action hasn’t resulted in any harmful unintended consequences.

The credit card ban is another layer of protection for consumers

The credit card ban was introduced as another layer of protection for consumers and aimed to help with the problem of borrowing money for gambling. Some evidence shows that particular gamblers using credit cards for gambling have a high level of debt.

With the evaluation of the regulation, it was found that:

  • The consumers’ support for the ban was positive and it helped people to have more control over gambling by doing it within their means;
  • The reporting of other forms of borrowed money for gambling remained stable;
  • Reporting of illegal money lending related to gambling also remained stable;
  • More people who previously gambled with credit cards do not do that with available funds and not with borrowed money;
  • In three months after the ban, bank data haven’t shown a spike for credit card gamblers in money transfers;
  • No spike in ATM withdrawals from credit cards was noticed as well at the time of the ban.

In addition to all this, major e-wallet and electronic money providers have blocked gambling transactions if the money came from credit cards.

The evaluation was done based on the Commission’s Online Tracker survey, which collects data quarterly from a sample of 2,000 adults (18+) in Great Britain. In addition to this, there is a Consumer Voice research completed by 2CV, which involved an eight-day online programme with 30 respondents.

What are the next steps for the UKGC regarding the credit card ban for gambling?

The plans of the UKGC are to continuously monitor the behaviour of consumers to ensure there isn’t an increase in harmful behaviour when it comes to funding gambling activities.

NatCen Social Research will further conduct a full evaluation of this ban by Greo in order to strengthen the evaluation of safer gambling initiatives. This is scheduled to happen in early 2023.

Andrew Rhodes, who is Interim Chief Executive of the Gambling Commission said protecting consumers is at the heart of everything the UKGC does and that policy is introduced as part of their multifaceted work to reduce gambling harm. He also added they look forward to NatCen’s report about the long-term impacts of the ban, and how that can be used for future policies.

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