The United Kingdom government will reportedly ban the use of credit cards to place deposits for betting in an attempt to control problem gambling and curb 'gambling harm'. According to an international media report, the Gambling Commission announced that ban will come into effect from April 14, 2020, and will apply to all online and offline gambling products apart from 'non-remote lotteries'. The ban comes after charity groups such as Gamble Aware and Citizens Advice reportedly urged the government to implement the policy to protect people from sliding into gambling addiction.
According to reports, in UK, approximately 24 million people gamble, including 10.5 million who gamble on betting sites online. Major betting sites reportedly allow their customers to make deposits online using credit cards, which has led to warnings from campaigners that gamblers risk racking up huge debts. While speaking to an international media outlet, Neil McArthur, Gambling Commission chief executive said that the credit card gambling can lead to significant financial harm and the ban would minimise the risks of harm to consumers from gambling with money they do not have.
The new ban on credit cards would limit customers to debit cards and prevent them from overextending themselves. McArthur further reportedly said that the change will be inconvenient to those customers who use credit cards responsibly but it will also reduce the risk of harm to others. He also informed that there are several examples of consumers who have accumulated tens of thousands of pounds of debt through gambling because of credit card availability and there is also evidence that the fees charged by credit cards can exacerbate the situation because the consumers can try to chase losses to a greater extent.
Culture Minister Helen Whately also reportedly said that while a million gamble responsibly, there are still a lot of people whose lives have been turned upside down by gambling addiction. She further added that there is clear evidence of harm from consumers betting with money they do not have and that is why the authorities will not hesitate to take any further action necessary to protect people from gambling harm. Mcarthur also added that the officials will also evaluate the ban and watch closely for any unintended circumstances for consumers.