The curtain has finally come down on credit card deposits, as the Gambling Commission announces a complete ban. After a lengthy consultation with the public in 2019, feedback overwhelmingly showed widespread support for such a measure.
What’s more, while a very small percentage of gamblers are considered to have a problem, the figure rises to 22% when considering just credit card gamblers. That is an increase of over tenfold.
The figures show that 10.5 million people gamble online and that around 800,000 of those do so with a credit card. While many do so responsibly, a whopping 180,000 credit card gamblers have a problem. The Gambling Commission, and ultimately the public, have decided that that equals 180,000 people too many,
The ban will extend to all forms of gambling, including offline betting shops, which hit the share prices of many of the country’s top bookies earlier this month. However, supermarkets and newsagents selling lottery tickets will be exempt as such enforcement would likely be impractical.
Neil MacArthur, CEO of the UKGC, spoke glowingly of the new rules, but he was sympathetic to those who would be affected negatively by the announcement.
“We realise that this change will inconvenience those consumers who use credit cards responsibly but we are satisfied that reducing the risk of harm to other consumers means that action must be taken.”
He also pointed out that they would continue to monitor the situation to make sure there were no unintended consequences with the measures.
The banning of credit cards from gambling had become one of the few consensus issues among all the main political parties in their election manifestos. Both the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats had specifically angled for such a move.
Helen Whately, a Conservative Culture Minister, said; “There is clear evidence of harm from consumers betting with money they do not have, so it is absolutely right that we act decisively to protect them.”
In her statement, she went on to burnish her party’s credentials on toughness towards the gambling industry including the maximum stake cut on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals.
In the same statement from the Gambling Commission, it was announced that all operators must participate in the GAMSTOP self-exclusion scheme as a condition of license. It is likely that more measures will follow.