UK Players Will No Longer Be Able To Use Credit Cards At Casinos15th Jan 2020 |
Credit cards will soon be banned as a payment tool at UK-licensed casinos and gambling businesses from April 2020, the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has confirmed.
The ban will come into effect from 14th April. It will apply to online and offline gambling, with the only exception being non-remote lotteries.
The exception was made as it would create “a disproportionate burden on retailers” – such as National Lottery ticket sellers – to block credit card payments.
Why are credit cards being banned from use in gambling?
The decision was taken after the Gambling Commission carried out an online gambling review in March 2018, which was followed by a review by the UK Government of social responsibility measures in gambling.
A public consultation was also carried out between August and November 2019.
Credit cards are used by around 800,000 consumers in Great Britain to gamble, according to a study conducted by UK Finance.
The research carried out by the UKGC found that as many as 22 per cent of online gamblers – more than one in five – who use credit cards as a payment method at online casinos could be classified as ‘at-risk gamblers’.
“The ban that we have announced today should minimise the risks of harm to consumers from gambling with money that they do not have,” said Neil McArthur, CEO of UKGC.
He also added that high credit card fees could make a bad situation worse, as casino players would end up chasing losses more desperately to cover their debts.
Of course, the vast majority of players who use credit cards when gambling do not have a gambling problem, but simply use them because they find them to be a convenient payment method.
But Mr McArthur said although he understood this, the risk of harm to others was too high to allow the use of credit cards to continue.
“We will evaluate the ban and watch closely for any unintended circumstances for consumers,” he added.
Other measures are also being taken to encourage responsible gaming
Besides the credit card ban, the national exclusion scheme GamStop will come into effect from 31st March. It has been a long time in the offing, but it will now become mandatory for all operators who have a UK license.
This measure was welcomed by the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) which represents UK-licensed betting shops, online gaming businesses and casinos.
“We welcome the requirement for all companies to join GamStop as part of our continued and ongoing determination to raise standards in the industry,” said BGC chairman Brigid Simmonds.
She added that the industry had already introduced new measures including new codes of conduct, new checks related to player age and how much they can afford to play, and increased funding for research, education, and treatment of problems related to excessive gaming.
Meanwhile, culture minister Helen Whately said that a review of the Gambling Act would be carried out “to ensure it is fit for the digital age.”
She also said that a new nationwide addiction strategy would be launched in 2020.