Gambling Using Credit Cards Banned In UK From April This Year
In order to curb the number of ‘problem gamblers’ in the red, people will be banned from using credit cards to bet both online and offline.
If you’re an online gambler, whether it be a cheeky accumulator at the weekend or dabbling in internet casinos, you’ll know that payment is all too easy. Want to make another bet? Topping up your balance is just a couple of clicks away – just grab your card.
However, following a review by the UK government and Gambling Commission, a ban will come into place on April 14 this year that will see credit cards banned from gambling.
A total of 24 million adults across Britain gamble, with more than 10 million of those doing so online. Alarmingly, further research from the commission showed that 22% of online gamblers known be using credits cards are also classed as ‘problem gamblers’, BBC News reports.
This comes two years after a number of charity groups – including GambleAware and Citizens Advice – urged the government to introduce legislation that would pull people away from pits of debt.
Neil McArthur, the Gambling Commission’s 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.
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. 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.
With the exclusion of lottery tickets towards good causes (for example, the National Lottery), the ban will be applied to both online and offline gambling. The commission said it would be a ‘disproportionate burden on retailers’ to prohibit card payments on tickets – however, they must be purchased alongside other items at the time.
Commenting on the need for firm action on gambling, 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.
We will not hesitate to take any further action necessary to protect people from gambling harm.
From March 31, online gambling operators will also be required to offer the GamStop self-exclusion scheme – a free service that ‘lets you put controls in place to help restrict your online gambling activities’ – to all customers.
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