Posted in Industry May 17, 2020
UK Implements Ban on Credit Card Use for Online Gambling
Reduced payment options. If you are from the United Kingdom or play in a Gambling Commission licensed online casino, you will no longer be able to use credit cards for online gambling.
The ban on using credit cards was initially announced on January 14, 2020, and went into effect on April 14th. This ban was implemented following a review by the Gambling Commission, which assessed the risks to players. The UKGC conducted a public consultation from August to November last year to formulate this policy. According to a press release, the ban applies to all types of online and offline gambling products, except non-remote lotteries.
The UK’s licensing body, the Gambling Commission, reveals that there are currently 24 million adult gamblers in Great Britain, with over 10.5 million of them playing online. The Commission’s research indicates that approximately 22 percent of online gamblers who use credit cards are categorized as ‘problem gamblers’, and there is also a growing number of ‘at risk’ players.
Consumer Protection Takes Priority
The implementation of this new policy aims to enhance consumer protection, according to Neil McArthur, the Chief Executive Officer of the Commission. He states that using credit cards for gambling can be significantly harmful. By banning credit card use, the risks to players are minimized since they will no longer be ‘gambling with money they do not have’. McArthur also highlights numerous cases of consumers accumulating substantial debt, amounting to tens of thousands of pounds, due to credit card availability for gambling. He explains that credit fees often exacerbate the situation, adding to the stress experienced by struggling players.
Debit Cards and Other Payment Options Remain Unaffected
Similar to other Commission policies, this ban has specific conditions and exemptions. For instance, it is still permissible to use credit cards to purchase ‘good cause’ lottery tickets, provided they are bought together with other items in a supermarket. The ban also does not apply to non-remote lotteries where ticket purchases and payments are made in person. Additionally, the use of debit cards is not affected. In summary, you can still play online casino games using your preferred debit card.
During the implementation of this policy, the Commission assures everyone, including consumers and players, that they will continuously assess the ban and proactively address any unintended effects on consumers.
Response from Stakeholders
While this ban is a significant blow to the industry, the majority of gambling operators have welcomed it positively. Bridgid Simmonds, Chairman of the Betting and Gaming Council, expressed support for efforts to promote safer gambling. The Betting and Gaming Council represents over 90% of the gambling sector in the UK.
In an emailed statement, Simmonds confirmed that the council will adhere to the ban on credit card use. This new rule will be integrated with other consumer protection measures, such as age verification, markers of harm and affordability checks, and investments in research.
Gambling Commission Response to the COVID Crisis
During the health crisis, the online gambling industry experienced increased customer engagement. To protect online players, the Commission recommended several steps and suggestions for operators. It urged gambling sites to highlight facilities and tools that allow players to set spending limits.
The Commission also collaborated with Twitter to restrict online gambling news and promotions appearing in players’ feeds. Additionally, the Commission expanded its monitoring efforts to include non-UK gambling websites attempting to attract UK players.