New credit card ban another blow to bookmakers
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) have announced a total ban on gambling businesses accepting credit cards. According to their own review and research some 800,000 consumers currently use credit cards to gamble including the approx. 22% of online users classed as problem gamblers whom the new legislation is aimed at protecting.
The ban, which applies to all online and offline gambling products with the exception of non-remote lotteries, comes into force on Tuesday April 14th 2020.
Neil McArthur, chief executive of the Gambling Commission said: “Credit card gambling can lead to significant financial harm. The ban we’ve announced should minimise the risks to consumers from gambling with money they don’t have.
“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’s 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.”
McArthur continued that although he understood that some consumers used credit cards because they were convenient, the risk of harm to others was too high to allow their use to continue.
Brigid Simmonds, head of the Betting and Gaming council which represents the industry gave the news a cautious welcome, possibly signifying that gambling companies are happy to give ground on this issue if it meant their more lucrative streams from sports betting and Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) are left alone.
She said: “We will implement a ban on credit cards and indeed our members will go further to study and improve the early identification of those at risk.
“The use of credit cards were previously used as a potential marker of harm which might lead to further intervention with customers.”
It’s not just financial harm from excessive gambling that authorities are afraid of. Claire Murdoch, National Mental Health Director with NHS England said: “I have seen first-hand the devastating impact on mental wellbeing of addiction and am concerned that the prevalence of gambling in our society is causing harm.
“For seven decades the NHS has adapted services in response to current challenges, but we should not be expected to pick up the pieces from lives damaged by avoidable harm.”
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