The UK Gambling Commission said that starting the 14th of April 2020, no gambling business can allow consumers from Great Britain to use Credit cards to add funds . This news comes after the review of the Commission of online gambling and the Government’s Review of Gaming Machines and Social Responsibility Measures. A public consultation was carried out between August and November 2019.
In Great Britain there are currently 24 million adults that gamble, with 10.5 million of those gambling online. Around 800,000 consumers use credit cards to gamble according to UK Finance. Separate research undertaken by the Commission shows that 22% of online gamblers using credit cards to gamble are classed as problem gamblers – with even more at some risk of harm.
This decision however will not affect consumers using their debit cards or prepaid cards.
Neil McArthur, Gambling Commission chief executive, said, “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. Research shows that 22% of online gamblers using credit cards are problem gamblers, with even more suffering some form of gambling harm.
We also know that there are examples of consumers who have accumulated tens of thousands of pounds of debt through gambling because of credit card availability. There is also evidence that the fees charged by credit cards can exacerbate the situation because the consumer can try to chase losses to a greater extent.”
“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.” he said. “But we will evaluate the ban and watch closely for any unintended circumstances for consumers.”
“The ban is part of our ongoing work to reduce gambling harm. We also need to continue the work we have been doing with gambling operators and the finance industry to ensure consumers only gamble with money they can afford to spend.”
Culture Minister Helen Whately said, “Whilst millions gamble responsibly, I have also met people whose lives have been turned upside down by gambling addiction. There is clear evidence of harm from consumers betting with money they do not have, so it is absolutely right that we act decisively to protect them.
“In the past year we have introduced a wave of tougher measures, including cutting the maximum stake on fixed odds betting terminals, bringing in tighter age and identity checks for online gambling and expanding national specialist support through the NHS Long Term Plan. We have also secured a series of commitments from five leading gambling operators that will include £100 million funding towards treatment for problem gamblers.
But there is more to do. We will be carrying out a review of the Gambling Act to ensure it is fit for the digital age and we will be launching a new nationwide addiction strategy in 2020. We will not hesitate to take any further action necessary to protect people from gambling harm.”
Also today it has been announced by the Commission that there will be changes to licence conditions which will require all online gambling operators to participate in the GAMSTOP scheme and offer their customers the service from 31 March.