The UK Gambling Commission, the watchdog for the country’s gambling industry has banned gambling businesses from accepting credit card deposits at their online platforms starting April 14 this year. The move is in an effort to protect vulnerable customers from piling up huge debts.
Many were expecting the Gambling Commission to announce this long overdue ban on wagers placed through credit cards. Going by the well-placed sources in the industry, this announcement has come after great amount of consultations with all the parties involved. Furthermore, this step comes couple of years after well-known charity groups like Citizens Advice and GambleAware urged the UK government to implement this new policy.
A good number of reputed UK sports betting and gambling portals currently accept credit card deposits from their customers, which resulted in warnings from such groups that these websites could cause gamblers to rack up huge debts. Not too long ago, the Guardian had reported about a problem gambler who made use of nine different credit cards and spent hundreds of thousands of pounds at online casinos, who seemed to have ignored her spiralling addiction. The losses incurred by her included £ 54,000 straight during an overnight gambling spree and a website that allowed her to place wagers of more than £ 380,000 in one single session.
Blanket ban on credit card usage at UK online gambling portals
The Gambling Commission will implement a blanket ban on credit card usage at all online gambling platforms in the UK. As a result, the customers will need to use debit cards for any online gambling activity. The consultation which resulted in this decision included usage of e-wallets, suggesting that services like PayPal will also be covered under the ban. It was revealed last year that providers accepting credit cards had overlooked problem gambling cases wherein the players had circumvented banking limits and were in fact spending as much as £ 150,000 on gambling each day.
Gamstop membership to become mandatory
Apart from banning credit card usage, the UK Gambling Commission is also in the process of announcing that Gamstop membership will become mandatory for all online casinos to obtain their gambling license. Gamstop enables people to voluntarily exclude themselves from gambling websites. It prevents gamblers from opening fresh accounts at other websites, and uses a comprehensive system to spot any attempts of fooling it, such as through use of pseudonyms.
Getting back to credit card gambling ban, it’s worth noting that preventing credit based gambling has been the Labour policy for over one year now, after MPs from various backgrounds urged the government to prevent vulnerable customers from gambling addiction.
These latest interventions by the regulator have come amidst mounting expectations from the government that it will soon start working on a new Gambling Act, which will replace the one that was passed in the year 2005 by the Tony Blair’s government. As you might be aware, the current Gambling Act has been widely criticised for going lenient on gambling regulation in the country.