Today, the Gambling Commission has announced that consumers will no longer be able to gamble using credit cards following the Government’s Review of Gaming Machines and Social Responsibility Measures and a public consultation.
UK Finance estimates that out of the 24 million adults that gamble across Britain, 80 000 consumers use credit cards to gamble online which can lead to significant financial harm and unsustainable habits. Among these 800 000, the Gambling Commission estimates around 22% of online gamblers that use credit cards are classified as ‘problem gamblers.’
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.”
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.”
The announcement today was coupled with the news that the all online gambling operators will now have to sign up to the GAMSTOP scheme from the 31st March, which allows people to restrict their own online gambling activities through online controls.
Local MP, Caroline Dinenage, commented:
“The announcement today on gambling controls is welcome news. We need to protect the most vulnerable users from uncontrollable and unsustainable gambling that can cause financial and emotional harm to them and their family.”