The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has confirmed that the long-expected ban on credit cards for gambling will be introduced throughout the UK sector this year.
In a statement released on Tuesday, the UKGC said that the ban would take effect from April 14, which would enable all operators to take action and make adjustments.
The ban will serve as what the UKGC describes as ‘additional protection’ and will apply to retail and land-based gambling as well as the online sector, although offline lottery products will be exempt. The action comes after a consultation lasting nearly a year in which the UKGC sought the views of industry incumbents and stakeholders.
According to research commissioned for the UKGC, over 20% of the gamblers who use their credit cards to gamble could be described as problem gamblers. And, speaking about the ban, the Chief Executive at the UKGC, Neil McArthur, said that the measure was an important way to protect customers and minimise the risk of them using money they don’t have in order to gamble:
‘“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.”
As well as the UKGC’s consultation, the UK government also held its own investigation into credit card gambling, which involved liaising with banks and gambling incumbents in the UK. These discussions included issues associated with credit betting, and how gambling operators could use new data technology to try to prevent problem gambling.
The new Conservative government has also announced its intention to review the 2005 Gambling Act, in the light of new developments in the online and gaming world, so April’s credit card ban is unlikely to be the last significant change that UK customers will have to adjust to this year.