The UK government is considering banning the use of credit cards in gambling, both online and offline. This is a move which would affect thousands of players nationwide and also billions of pounds worth of bets per year.
Whilst it may sound disruptive at first, the proposed ban could actually be a step in the right direction when it comes to dealing with problem gambling effectively.
As there is a now a huge variety of available banking options for online gamblers, a ban on gambling on credit could help to curb people spending money they don’t have, whilst not really inconveniencing others.
The Proposed Credit Card Ban
The ban was proposed by the UK culture secretary, Jeremy Wright last month.
He said he would haul bookmakers and banks into meetings to discuss the fact that up to 20% of deposits at some gambling firms are made using money that players don’t have.
The ban has been backed up by the UKGC, who will launch a call for evidence on the matter this month, and who have stated that regulation could follow. A spokesperson for the UKGC stated that:
‘Last year we said we will consider prohibiting or restricting the use of credit cards and will explore the consequences of doing so.’
Britain’s love affair with gambling has grown massively in the past decade, and the country now has an estimated 9 million online gamblers. This is why the ban could affect billions of pounds worth of bets – but it could also keep our country’s gamblers safer too.
A Broader Crackdown on Gambling Payments
Jeremy Wright also announced that he wishes for a broader crackdown on online gambling and assuring that all players are gambling responsibly and safely. The government will address the failings of self-exclusion schemes, which are designed to help addicts stop betting altogether.
Wright said that ‘gambling operators must step in and act when people are showing signs of risky gambling‘. He also added that the operators’ licences should be at risk if they do not act.
The Culture Secretary praised banks such as Lloyds, Santander and Barclays, who have introduced features in their mobile apps which allow customers to switch of spending on gambling. However. he also added we should ‘ask if it is right that people are able to gamble on credit‘.
What Issues Would a Credit Card Ban Raise?
On the whole, a credit card ban at online casinos could be a very good thing. After all, if the industry is wanting to take problem gambling seriously, then prohibiting people from spending money they don’t have is an obvious solution.
That being said, whilst many online gamblers now use alternative payment methods, such as e-wallets and pay by phone services, a blanket ban could raise a few issues.
For instance, many people use their credit cards online to give themselves a further layer of protection. As a credit card payment means that the merchant doesn’t have your personal banking information, it can seem like a safer option.
Moreover, credit card payments often have their own internet payment protection. Under section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, credit cards provide protection for purchases above £100 and below £30,000. This can be very appealing for high-roller players who are making larger deposits.
So, is the Credit Card Ban a Good Idea? – Our Verdict
Overall we think a credit card ban could do more good than bad. However, we’d argue that some form of other payment checks would be more beneficial to online gamblers.
Whilst credit cards do allow you to spend money you don’t have, they’re also a lifeline for people who are concerned about making huge transfers online.
Due to this, we think that the industry needs to do more to identify, and help, problem gamblers – rather than simply removing a well-used payment option altogether.