| The Gambling
Commission has announced a ban on gambling businesses allowing consumers in
Great Britain to use credit cards to gamble.
Exemption for lotteries
that are run for good causes
to be banned from using credit cards to place bets, in an attempt to curb
problem gambling, the Gambling Commission has said.
The ban, which comes
into effect on 14 April, follows the Commissions review of online
gambling and the Governments Review of Gaming Machines and Social
Responsibility Measures. A public consultation was carried out between August
and November 2019.
24 million adults in Great Britain gamble, with 10.5
million of those gambling online. UK Finance estimate that 800,000 consumers
use credit cards to gamble. (Data source UK Finance.)
undertaken by the Commission shows that 22%** of online gamblers using credit
cards to gamble are classed as problem gamblers with even more at some
risk of harm. (Data source: gambling participation research, March 2019. The
research was conducted online by Populus and covered a representative sample of
c.2000 adults, of whom c.150 had reported using a credit card to gamble
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. 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. "
He added, "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."
McArthur said although he understood that some consumers used credit cards
because they were convenient, the risk of harm to others was too high to allow
the use of credit cards to continue.
We realise that this change
will inconvenience those consumers who use credit cards responsibly but we are
satisfied that reducing the risk of harm to other consumers means that action
must be taken. he said. But we will evaluate the ban and watch
closely for any unintended circumstances for consumers.
McArthur warned that although likely to reduce gambling harm, the banning of
credit cards needed to be accompanied by other efforts.
is part of our ongoing work to reduce gambling harm. We also need to continue
the work we have been doing with gambling operators and the finance industry to
ensure consumers only gamble with money they can afford to spend.
Last year Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS)
ministers also met with banks and gambling operators to discuss their growing
concerns, and how companies could use technology and customer data to help
those at risk of developing gambling problems, including those using credit
Culture Minister Helen Whately said:
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
We will not hesitate to take any further action necessary
to protect people from gambling harm.
This day has also seen the
Commission announce changes to licence conditions which will require all online
gambling operators to participate in the GAMSTOP scheme and offer their
customers the service from 31 March.
Neil McArthur said on the
subject of GAMSTOP:
We welcome the fact that GAMSTOP have got
to this stage in their development and encourage them to continue to improve
their offer, particularly in relation to preventing those who have
self-excluded being targeted by direct marketing.
It is important
that self-exclusion schemes are as effective as possible and they will be most
effective when used in combination with other blocking tools such as gambling
blocking software and payment card blocking.
Share prices for betting
companies fell in early trading but then recovered quickly. People who sign up
for Gamstop are prevented from using British gambling websites and apps for a
chosen period of time.
Brigid Simmonds, chairwoman of the Betting and
Gaming Council (BGC), said the industry body "strongly" welcomed the
requirement for all companies to join GamStop.
co-founder of the Safer Online Gambling Group, said that while the credit card
ban was "welcome", it was "not a silver bullet to solve the problem as the
gambling industry still needs to improve in many areas - for instance,
performing better affordability checks on players and being more careful with