UKGC Considers Online Gambling Credit Card Ban

The UK Gambling Commission announced in a new report on how to make gambling safer, that it is considering ‘whether gambling on credit should continue to be permitted’. The suggestion emerged after the watchdog accepted that gambling on credit cards ‘increases the risk that consumers will gamble more than they can afford’.

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Reportedly between 10% and 20% of all UK gambling deposits are made with credit cards.

The commission will first investigate whether such a ban might illicit unwanted alternative trends such as punters resorting to using “payday” loans to feed gambling habits. The report continues: “We support the principle that consumers should not gamble with money that they do not have and plan to conduct further work on gambling using credit in order to develop a more comprehensive understanding of associated risks. We plan to consult on the options that emerge from this review.”

Betting operators have previously suggested that between 10% and 20% of online deposits are made with credit cards. On gambling websites these deposits are treated as a cash advance, which makes them subject to high interest rates and a one-off transaction fee.

Customers can also currently gamble with credit from short-term loans and overdrafts, but the UKGC warned that dangers related to the use of credit cards is “particularly acute”.

Marc Etches, chief executive of one of the UK’s largest gambling charities GambleAware, is concerned that the combination of credit payments and an absence of maximum stakes on some internet games is a dangerous mix.

Being able to use a credit card significantly increases the risk of gambling more than you can afford, so a ban on credit cards online could be hugely beneficial in protecting the vulnerable. Marc Etches, Chief Executive, GambleAware

In the report released on Monday, the UKGC made additional proposals to make gambling safer, including improving age verification processes, stricter regulations on “unacceptable marketing and advertising”, and a ban on gambling operators providing “free-to-play” games aimed at children.

The online gambling sector is the largest in the British gambling market. With profits of £4.7bn in 2017, it’s the largest regulated gambling industry in the world.

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