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UK Gambling Commission Bans Credit Card Payments

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As part of the UK Gambling Commission’s ongoing work to reduce gambling harm, all online and offline gambling products with the exception of non-remote lotteries will stop allowing consumers in Great Britain to use credit cards to gamble from 14 April 2020. According to UK Finance, this will affect around 800,000 consumers of which 22% are classified as problem gamblers.

This important decision in the largest regulated online gambling market in the world (UKGC) follows the Commission’s review of online gambling and the Government’s Review of Gaming Machines and Social Responsibility Measures. A public consultation was carried out between August and November 2019.

The UKGC’s decision from the analysis of the research results knowingly came at the expense of inconvenience for the rest of consumers for whom credit card is just a means of a better payment method. Although the UKGC chief executive said that they will evaluate the ban and watch closely for any unintended circumstances for consumers, Neil McArthur, Gambling Commission chief executive, was clear about the scope of the problem: “We also know that there are examples of consumers who have accumulated tens of thousands of pounds of debt through gambling because of credit card availability. There is also evidence that the fees charged by credit cards can exacerbate the situation because the consumer can try to chase losses to a greater extent.”

For the Gambling Commission and Culture Minister Helen Whately, it’s just one of the many measures that have been recently applied or are to come to effect this year and in the future. This includes the full implementation of the GAMSTOP scheme on 31 March 2020, age verification checks for play-for-free games, strict identity and source of wealth checks, as well as better use of customer data to capitalise on technology and build better proactive measures for spotting hazardous gambling practices. “We will not hesitate to take any further action necessary to protect people from gambling harm,” said the minister, who also claimed that there will be a new nationwide addiction strategy launching in 2020.

That said, we take responsible gambling seriously and think people should indeed not support their gaming habits with loans. On the other hand, UGGC’s back-to-back player-protection measures have created a lot of polemics and doubt among operators who are afraid that their actions may weaken licensed operators while increase gambling at overseas and often unlicensed online casinos.

What are your thoughts on this? Feel free to leave a comment below.

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