The Gambling Commission’s ban on using credit cards for gambling has come into effect for all consumers in Great Britain today (14 April 2020).
The ban means that UK consumers will no longer be able to use credit cards for any form of gambling, either online or and at land-based gambling businesses. Non-remote lotteries, such as National Lottery tickets and scratchcards purchased in-person at retailers, are excluded from the ban.
The ban also extends to e-wallets like PayPal, Skrill, and Neteller and gambling operators will only be allowed to accept customer payments via e-wallets if they can prevent credit card use for gambling.
The measure was introduced alongside a mandatory requirement for all online gambling operators to be registered with GamStop, by 31st March 2020. GamStop is a free service that lets UK gamblers self-exclude from online gambling sites with one registration.
When announcing the decision in January 2020, Neil McArthur, Gambling Commission’s chief executive, said:
“Credit card gambling can lead to significant financial harm. The ban that we have announced today should minimise the risks of harm to consumers from gambling with money they do not have. Research shows that 22% of online gamblers using credit cards are problem gamblers, with even more suffering some form of gambling harm. 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.”
The Commission ran a public consultation on the issue from August to November 2019. GamCare contributed to the consultation with input from its service users.
If you’re worried about your gambling or someone else’s, the National Gambling Helpline is available 24/7 for free, confidential information, advice and support on Freephone 0808 8020 133 or live chat.