From 14th April 2020 people will no longer be able to place bets on a credit card. The move by the Gambling Commission is intended to protect vulnerable consumers and curb problem gambling.
Research shows that 24 million adults in Britain gamble, with just over 10 million gambling online. A separate study found that 22% of online gamblers using credit cards are classed as problem gamblers.
Credit cards allow consumers to borrow large amounts of money instantly, often leading to spiralling interest & charges – along with the temptation to continue gambling to try and cut one’s losses.
The ban applies to all types of online and offline bets, with the exception of lotteries that are run for good causes. Lottery companies will have to provide a significant layer of additional protection to vulnerable people.
Minimising the risk of harm
Gambling Commission chief executive Neil McArthur 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.”
“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.”
While many people enjoy gambling responsibly, the new measures will protect the most financially vulnerable. 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.”
Where to get help
Support is available if you struggle with problem gambling. GameStop is a UK service that allows you to voluntarily restrict your online gambling activities – you will be blocked from gambling sites that are part of the scheme, either permanently or for a period if time that you choose.
Be Gamble Aware contains advice and support for gambling addiction. You can call their free helpline 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on 0808 8020 133.