As of 14th April 2020, customers of online casinos, bingo sites, and sports betting sites, as well as people who visit high street betting shops, will be unable to use their credit card to make deposits.
The move has been taken by the UK Gambling Commission in an ongoing bid to protect vulnerable customers and prevent problem gambling.
Up until now, credit cards (such as those offered by MasterCard and Visa) have been common payment methods at both online and offline gambling venues. Unlike debit cards and e-wallets which require customers to have physical credit in their accounts, credit cards allow players to spend funds which they do not have. In addition, considering the sky-high interest rates that most credit card providers charge, it’s easy for people who use them to get dragged into escalating amounts of debt.
While the UK Gambling Commission is aware that some customers choose to use their credit card for convenience’s sake (as well as to take advantage of the added financial protection which comes with using the service), it believes that applying a blanket ban will be hugely beneficial as it “should minimise the risks of harm to consumers from gambling with money they do not have”.
The UKGC has already introduced new regulations for venues offering customers fixed-odds betting terminals that have seen the maximum bet reduced from £100 to £2. This was following an in-depth study into problem gambling in the UK.
Even ex-Prime Minister, Theresa May, has said that “gambling addiction can devastate lives”. Furthermore, the research that the UK Gambling Commission has been carrying out has shown that 22 percent of those who use credit cards for gambling purposes are problem gamblers.
The only exception to the new credit card rule will be “non-remote lotteries”. For example, customers will still be able to purchase tickets for the National Lottery and EuroMillions in a physical store.