The UK gambling regulator is preparing to announce the prohibition of credit cards in online gambling to prevent people from betting money they don’t have.
The announcement of the long-awaited ban could come as early as this week. It will forbid bookmakers from accepting credit card deposits for betting on the internet.
The move is part of a major overhaul of the industry “to insure a safe gambling experience for all customers”.
For years, concerns over gambling-related harm have led to calls for regulatory intervention. The Responsible Gambling Strategy Board, an independent expert advisory body, has stated:
“Gambling with borrowed money is a well-established risk factor for harmful gambling, because it significantly increases the risk that consumers will gamble with more money than they can afford.”
Borrowing to gamble
The commission’s own data show that a sizeable portion of gambling deposits—as high as 20% in some gambling establishments—is made by customers who do not have the money.
Early in 2019, the gambling watchdog launched a call for evidence on the matter, “to explore the consequences of restricting or prohibiting the use of credit cards [in gambling].”
Responses to the call for evidence came from a range of stakeholders including members of the public, debt relief charities, gambling operators, and financial services. There were also testimonies from individuals who have suffered significant financial harm using credit cards to fund their gambling.
The commission’s subsequent “Consultation on gambling with credit cards” led to its final decision to ban the use of credit cards in online gambling.
Many hope the commission will ultimately draw up a new Gambling Act to replace the current one pass in 2005 by the Tony Blair government, blamed for greatly impairing gambling regulations.