The UK Bans Gambling with Credit Cards

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The Widely-Publicized Ban on Credit Card Gambling Comes Into Force in the UK

As of the 14th of April, 2020, UK players can no longer gamble online using credit cards. The UK Gambling Commission announced that the credit card gambling ban came into force, by issuing an official statement on its website.

The much-anticipated ban was first mentioned over a year ago and has been in the making ever since. Numerous studies were carried to establish its possible effectiveness, and in January, it was finally decided that it would be implemented as of April.


The UK Bans Gambling with Credit Cards

The UK Gambling Commission has collaborated with many government institutions in deciding whether the credit card ban should be implemented, how and when. In fact, it was suggested a year ago, so the Commission carried out a public consultation on the matter between August and November last year. The Government’s Review of Gaming Machines and Responsibility Measures was conducted, as well, and all of these steps led to the eventual decision, announced by the UKGC and the Department of Culture, Media and Sport in January, that the credit card ban would come into force from the 14th of April.

The much-publicized ban applies to online gambling payments with a credit card and any payment method associated with credit cards, such as eWallets. The decision on implementing the ban, as explained by the Commission, was with the aim to protect the 10.5 million UK players who gamble online from gambling-related harm. As shown by numerous studies, over 800,000 of all UK players prefer using credit cards for online gambling, but what’s worrying is that 22% of those players are either labeled as problem gamblers or are experiencing gambling-related harm.

To make things worse, the COVID-19 outbreak happened and caused new problems in the gambling industry. An increase in participation in slots and virtual sports was noticed, considering players were ordered to stay home and avoid human contact. Since the lockdown, online gambling activities have increased, which could further lead to players developing unhealthy gambling habits.

Therefore, the UK Gambling Commission reminded all UK operators to do everything they can to keep their players from harm. The Commission explained that the credit card ban would significantly help in that, but they would also need to take further steps to protect their players from harm when gambling online.

On that note, the Commission reminded players, too, that they can look for help if they feel the need to. The regulator encouraged all those players worried about their own or someone else’s behaviour to seek guidance and help from the National Gambling Helpline. Players looking for support can get one by contacting the agents via phone (0808 8020 13) or by visiting the website gamecare.org.uk. The National Gambling Helpline offers all sorts of confidential information and assistance to anyone affected by gambling-related problems and harms.


A Message from the Chief Executive of UKGC

UKGC's Chief Executive Neil McArthur always takes his time to calm, encourage and advise players and operators personally, when new, big changes are on the horizon.

In this occasion, McArthur said that the credit card ban was introduced to further protect players from financial harm. He said that nobody in the UK could use a credit card to gamble online, as of the 14th of April, and that would ultimately reduce the risks of gambling harm to players who gambled with money they did not actually have.

Additionally, McArthur emphasized that the ban came at a crucial time, when the Commission was seeing an increase in the participation in some online products, such as virtual sports and slots, and an increase in UK players interest in gambling products ever since the lockdown began, which was necessary to prevent COVID-19 from spreading any further.

Finally, the Chief Executive of the UK Gambling Commission said that the spike of interest in online gambling highlighted how important was for operators to keep their players safe. He added that the credit card gambling ban would help them get better control over their players. He finished his statement saying that, as always, the UK Gambling Commission would continue to look for ways to make gambling safer, but for now, the credit card gambling ban was another milestone towards achieving that goal.
 

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