Between March 2018 and April 2019, Britons spent over £5.3bn whilst gambling at casinos and bingo sites online. 10.5m UK adults gambled online during this year, with 800,000 of them using a credit card.
As of April this year (2020), these 800,000 UK players will be unable to use their credit card to make deposits.
UK players will only be able to make deposits using a debit card or one of the many online payment methods such as PayPal, Skrill, Neteller or Paybyphone to name a few. The ban also covers e-wallets which are funded by credit cards.
Why has The Gambling Commission decided to ban credit card deposits?
Research shows that 22% of online gamblers using their credit cards as a means of depositing are classified as “problem gamblers”. All 800,000 of these players are using money that they don’t technically own, which obviously poses its own threats.
Neil McArthur, Gambling Commission chief executive, said: “The ban that we have announced today should minimise the risks of harm to consumers from gambling with money they do not have”. Neil also said, credit cards have given consumers the availability to accumulate tens of thousands of pounds of debt through gambling, intensifying the situation of chasing losses to a greater extent.
The availability of gambling with credit cards, gives an opportunity to improve your credit score if the debt gets paid into the credit card on time. This can be seen tricky as it’s combining entertainment and a desperate urge for players who have realised, they’ll struggle to pay back the debt chasing gambling losses with their credit cards.
Is this Ban enough to protect players gambling with borrowed money?
Credit cards are just one way of using someone else’s money to gamble with online. How about payday loans? Using payday loans, problem gamblers are able to gain an instant injection of cash which can be used for whatever they please. These often come with much higher interest rates than credit cards, so perhaps this will be enough of a deterrent to keep problem gamblers away.
Many will see this ban as an inconvenience to their gambling experience. 78% of the players who deposited using credit cards were not classed as “problem gamblers” – they’ll need to find a new means of depositing through no fault of their own.
Regardless of the slight inconvenience, this might cause, the ban should only be seen as a positive move to protect vulnerable gamblers. It will not solve the problem that plagues the gambling industry, but it is a step in the right direction.
Players shouldn’t be allowed to gamble with the money they don’t have, therefore this can feed an addictive cycle of leaving players in debt for years or even decades.
The harm of consumers gambling with money they don’t have is a piece of absolute evidence, “so it is absolutely right that we act decisively to protect them” said Culture Minister, Helen Whately.