Credit Card Ban at Casinos from Today
Earlier this we published an article surrounding the passing of legislation banning the ability to use credit cards to pay for online gambling.
And, true to it’s word this came into effect as of yesterday 14th April 2020, with punters in the UK no longer able to use credit cards to pay for bets. From a diligence point of view, the change has been welcomed with open arms because of the increase in online gambling during the coronavirus lockdown. The ban was first announced in January by the Gambling Commission and the government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport, extends to offline betting as well as online, with The Gambling Commission, which regulates and licenses gambling in the UK pointing to research showing a staggering 800,000 are believed to use credit cards out of 10.5 million. Supported by this data, experts predict that around 175,000 are thought to be ‘problem’ gamblers suffering financial distress as a result of a gambling addiction.
Neil McArthur is chief executive of the Gambling Commission and supported the arrival of the ban, given the impact of the coronavirus lockdown: “It’s a ban which ultimately reduces the risks of harm to consumers from gambling with money they do not have.
“The ban also comes at a vital time as we are seeing an increase in the use of some online products, such as online slots and virtual sports, and our online search analysis shows an increase in UK consumer interest in gambling products since the lockdown began.
“This highlights just how important it is for gambling operators to keep people safe, and the credit card ban will help that.”
Under the ban, it will still be possible to enter ‘good cause’ lottery funds, with a credit card as long as they are bought alongside other items in a supermarket or newsagent and the Commission says e-wallets can be used for gambling only if they prevent credit card use for gambling purposes.
Gambling Commission Lockdown Response
Following the increase in online gambling during the coronavirus lockdown, the Commission has taken steps to improve consumer protection. These include:
- highlighting the facilities offered by all UK gambling sites that allow users to set a limit on how much they can spend on that site
- partnering with twitter to enable its users to limit the amount of gambling-related content that appears on their feed
- reminding individuals that they can ask gambling operators to exclude them from using a site for a stated period. All licensed gambling sites in the UK must offer this service, known as GAMSTOP, as of March 2020
- increasing monitoring of unlicensed non-UK gambling sites trying to reach a UK audience, with action taken as necessary.
Lenny’s Last Word
Ultimately, the new legislation should go a long way in addressing the issue of problem gambling, which can only be a good thing. While just 1% of the population in the UK are said to be problem gamblers, the other 99% of people who place bets on a regular basis do so without any issues, so passing preventative measures to stop vulnerable people from racking up huge credit card debts a positive step in the right direction, even if bookmakers are aware it will inevitably impact on their profits in the long term.
Most betting websites in the UK will continue as normal, with gambling firms still able to offer many other popular payment methods to their customers. Punters can still bet with payment methods like Boku and many others that are easy-to-access, providing the funds do not come from a credit card, not to mention that all online gambling operators also need to sign-up to the GamStop self-exclusion scheme by the end of March 2020, the gambling industry appears to be well on its way to tackling problem gambling.
This will change the lives of people who sadly struggle with gambling addiction, but for the better. For the 99% of punters who enjoy gambling without any such issues, the revised landscape is unlikely to make too much difference to their activity moving forward.
Information & Support
The National Gambling Helpline provides confidential information, advice and support for anyone affected by gambling problems in England, Scotland and Wales.
For more information visit gamcare.org.uk or call 0808 8020 133.