Gambling Commission announces credit card ban
The Gambling Commission has said that there will be a ban on people using credit cards to place bets as part of new measures to tackle problem gambling.
The ban will come into force on April 14 following reviews of the gambling industry by both the commission and the government.
10.5 million of the 24 million British adults who gamble do so online. Gambling Commission research indicates that 22 per cent of online gamblers using credit cards are considered to have a gambling problem.
The ban will apply to all online and offline gambling with the exception of lotteries that are run for charitable causes.
Tickets for such lotteries and the National Lottery can still be purchased at supermarkets and newsagents using credit cards, providing that they are bought alongside other products.
Chief executive of the Gambling Commission, Neil McArthur, believes the ban will “minimise” risks for those who are gambling with money that they do not have.
McArthur 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."
Share prices for betting firms did fall in the wake of the news during early Tuesday trading, but have since recovered.
Culture minister Helen Whately believes that the ban constitutes "decisive" action to protect consumers who are gambling irresponsibly.
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."
New regulations will also require online gambling operators to take part in the Gamstop self-exclusion scheme. It will be mandatory for these firms to offer it to all of their customers from March 31 onwards. Those who sign-up for Gamstop are unable to use British gambling websites and applications for select periods, in order to help cut down on excessive gambling.