UK Government Ban on Using Credit Cards for Online Gambling to Go into Effect

At a time when the world is battling a collective medical crisis over the now infamous Coronavirus, it’s difficult to remember some aspects of life will keep moving forward.

Recently, the UK Gambling Commission with the support of the UK government announced that land based and online casino patrons will no longer be able to fund their gambling accounts with credit cards. That figures to have a profound effect on the UK’s online gambling industry. How profound? Current data figures indicate that more than 10.0 million UK residents currently gamble online on a regular basis. Furthermore, the data shows at least 800,000 of those online gamblers are using their credit cards to fund their gambling accounts. Why is that a problem? The data also indicates that 22% of the people using credit cards are exhibiting behaviors that are consistent with problem gambling.

With the ban on credit cards set to go into effect on April 14, 2020, online gamblers are scrambling to find news ways to fund their online gambling accounts. It’s a good bet that e-wallet solutions like Neteller, Skrill and Paysafecard are about to experience an increase in business. The same could be said for PayPal, a company that permits transactions in jurisdictions where said transactions are permitted by law. The bottom line is this: anyone looking to join new casinos in 2020 will have to find ones that offer other deposit options.

Regarding the ban on credit cards, Neil McArthur, Gambling Commission chief executive, had this to say:

“Credit card gambling can lead to significant financial harm. The ban that we have announced today should minimize the risks of harm to consumers from gambling with money they do not have. Research shows that 22% of online gamblers using credit cards are problem gamblers, with even more suffering some form of gambling harm.”

He later added, “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.”

In an effort to follow suit, safe gambling advocates in Ireland are calling for a similar ban in their country. According to Barry Grant, chief executive of Problem Gambling Ireland: “Having a facility for people to gamble with money they don’t have is extremely dangerous.”

Whether or not this ban will have a positive effect on UK communities remains to be determined. For online gamblers who are stuck at home with nothing to do because of the virus pandemic, there is a bit of good news. The ban does not go into effect for another three weeks. They can still fund their accounts and gamble responsibly. By the time the pandemic has been brought under control and people can resume living their lives again, it will be easier for responsible gamblers to find ways to make deposits.

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