UK’s New Sports Minister Considers a Credit Card Gambling Ban

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May 3, 2008
Following the resignation of the former Sports Minister Tracey Crouch, who has quit her job over the maximum stakes on fixed-odds betting terminals cut delay, a new Sports Minister Mims Davies was appointed. Davies suggests new regulation, one that would be really game-changing for gambling operators and gamblers.

She suggests a credit card gambling ban, with the aim to lessen the gambling addiction and gambling-related harms.

The New Sports Minister’s Speech

The Tory MP for Eastleigh and the new, recently appointed Sports Minster Mims Davies has given a speech at the GambleAware’s annual conference regarding gambling-harm minimization in London. The new Sports Minister saw the conference of the industry-funded charity GambleAware as a great opportunity to announce one of her possible new regulation changes.

Davies said for her appointment that it followed an extremely progressive year of policy developments but warned the gambling operators that it isn’t over yet. She said that the Gambling Review’s publication did not mark the end of government action.

She said that the government entirely supported the investment and employment of the gambling industry, but reminded that there are risks which the industry must mitigate with appropriate protections. She emphasized that gambling operators need to deliver early interventions, long before the harm actually occurs. She also added that she wants to see a rapid progress in the area of preventions.

The new Sports Minister gave the credit card gambling ban as a suggestion, but it doesn't necessarily mean that it should stay just an example. She said that there were increasing concerns around people gambling with credit cards and ponders the question of whether this should actually be permitted. She then announced that the government is looking into this area in detail, with the hopes to understand the full situation and to consider if action is needed around this area.

Although the recent GambleAware’s voluntary funding increase on industry’s part was encouraged,
Davies warns the operators that the government wasn’t ruling out a shift to many other ways of funding support, mandatory levy included if the voluntary system comes up short again. She distinctly explains that the gambling operator's profits aren't her prime concern; on the contrary, ensuring that the problem gamblers have an easy access to the right treatment is.

Recent Turns of Events in the UK

Gambling in the UK has seen several turns of events during 2018. This was the year of changes. Out of the most important ones, the update of the rules for Dispute Resolution is the most recent one. The UK Gambling Commission has issued new ADR requirements and other corresponding rules for better and stronger players’ protection which took effect from October 31, 2018.

Then, the government increased the Remote Gambling Tax from 15% to 21%, stating that the new tax increase starts from October 1, 2019. In addition to that, the date is the same for the maximum stake cut on fixed-odds betting terminals from £1,000 to £2, with the aim of preventing and decreasing the number of problem gamblers and gambling-related harms, including suicide. There was even an incident regarding this question since the former Sports Minister Tracey Crouch resigned her position as a sign of revolt due to the delay of the stake cut from April 2019 to October 2019. She considered the delay unreasonable and a threat for many lives that could end due to problem gambling. Following her resignation, the two opposing parties decided together that there should be no delay, and decided to bring forward the stake cut along with the Remote Gambling Tax increase as of April 2019.

In line with taxes and regulatory changes, there was the suggestion on part of the UK's Football Association to include a gambling tax with the aim of funding the football development at the grassroots level. It remained a mystery whether that would ever happen or not, considering this suggestion raised so many negative comments by operators and related associations.

What Would the Credit Card Gambling Ban Mean for the Operators?

Nevertheless, the new Sports Ministers’ announcement about the credit card gambling ban will further change the future of gambling operators. A large percentage of players are playing using credit cards, which would mean that gambling operators could lose a significant number of players with this ban. There is, of course, an option for those players to shift to several other online payment options that exist today, however, considering credit cards are their first choice, the online gambling industry may receive another blow. This, however, would be for the greater good and it would mean a win for the government and other organisations in the prevention of gambling-related harm and suicides.

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