As the Gambling Commissions continues to streamline process regulation in the UK it was literally a matter of time before payment providers were being hit, with a gambling credit card ban, particularly on punters using them for both online and offline.
WhichCasinos.co.uk has found that as of April 14th 2020 all gambling punters will no longer be allowed to use credit cards for Gambling. Anyone interested in placing a bet online or offline would have to do so using their debit card.
The credit card ban, which follows an effort by the Government to address the issue of problem gambling, affects all offline and online gambling, with the exception of the National Lottery, the Gambling Commission said.
Controlling Gambling Addiction
Although this may appear as a hit on punters, which casinos encourage customers to take this as a positive move by the Gambling Commission. Particularly in controlling problem gambling.
Research shows 22% of gamblers use their credit card to gamble, this creates problem gambling which can escalate into affecting people’s lives.
There are around 800,000 people use credit cards to gamble, with the regulator’s own data showing that more than 165,000 customers made £46 million worth of credit card deposits in February last year.
Gambling Commission chief executive Neil McArthur said the ban should “minimise the risks of harm to consumers from gambling with money they do not have”.
This announcement will surely hit the stock market and see the big providers and brands such as William Hill, Ladbrokes, GVC have already reported 3% in losses since the announcement.
Due to easy credit availability via credit cards, many consumers will undoubtedly have accumulated thousands in debt and lost control in how to pay it all back.
Most people with gambling problems do so without their family’s knowledge, and this can have a predominantly negative effect on families as well as individuals, particularly with the coming of age on smartphones.
Additional credit card fees also mean the amount owed mounts up and become uncontrollable particularly if overall income doesn’t match, living requirements and debts repayments.
What’s the Government doing about problem Gambling?
The Government has come under pressure to introduce bans for the use of credit cards for online bets over the past two years by charity groups including Gamble Aware and Citizens Advice.
In 2018, the Responsible Gambling Strategy Board (RGSB) called on the Gambling Commission to consider restrictions on the use of “borrowed money” for online gambling.
Early in 2019, the watchdog launched a call for evidence on the matter “to explore the consequences of restricting or prohibiting the use of credit cards in gambling”.
An estimated 24 million adults gambling in Great Britain, with 10.5 million of those placing bets online.
The announcement is the latest blow to gambling businesses, after the Government introduced a crackdown on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs), which saw the maximum stake for bets cut from £100 to £2.
What’s being said about the Gambling ban?
Brigid Simmonds, chairwoman of the Betting and Gaming Council which represents the industry, said: “The Betting and Gaming Council is a body firmly committed to raising standards, safer gambling and change.
“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.”
Tracey Crouch, who resigned as sports minister in 2018, wrote on Twitter: “Overwhelming debt accumulated via credit was a recurring theme by those addicts I met and heard from.
“This is definitely a positive safeguarding measure that will help many people at risk of harm from gambling.”
Culture minister Helen Whately said: “There is clear evidence of harm from consumers betting with money they do not have, so it is absolutely right that we act decisively to protect them.
“In the past year, we have introduced a wave of tougher measures, including cutting the maximum stake on fixed-odds betting terminals, bringing in tighter age and identity checks for online gambling and expanding national specialist support through the NHS Long Term Plan.
“We have also secured a series of commitments from five leading gambling operators that will include £100 million in funding towards treatment for problem gamblers.
“But there is more to do. We will be carrying out a review of the Gambling Act to ensure it is fit for the digital age and we will be launching a new nationwide addiction strategy in 2020.
“We will not hesitate to take any further action necessary to protect people from gambling harm.”
Top 5 methods to bypass gambling credit card ban
Although reading through the above article indicates all good intentions by the UKGC to help protect consumers from falling into further debt, it should also be made clear that there are also responsible gamblers out there, who are able to control their spend and keep up to date with repayments made on their credit card.
Most importantly to note, there are still a variety of methods to which consumers are likely to use in order to bypass the gambling credit card ban, these include:
Topping up mobile phone credit using a credit card, then finding an online gambling site that accepts Boku/ Pay by phone, the use of the third-party service eliminates the direct use of the credit card.
Using a credit card to top up online payment providers such as Skrill or Neteller. By simply opening an online account with Skrill or Neteller, a customer may simply top up their account using a credit card and using their login details in order to deposit funds into online gambling sites that accept Skrill or Neteller.
Purchasing cryptocurrency using an accepted credit card through some popular exchanges such as Binance, Kucoin, and Bittrex. Some of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges now accept credit cards to purchase some of the most popular cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, ethereum, and litecoin. Which are the popular choices accepted by cryptocurrency gambling sites. Once the chosen cryptocurrency is purchased, simply transferring it to an online e-wallet and registering the details within the chosen gambling site, depositing and gambling. Some payment providers such as Skrill also offer cryptocurrency purchases within their services.
Cash Withdrawals on credit cards. Not the wisest of choices, nevertheless, one nonetheless. Cash withdrawals using credit cards can leave a hefty interest to be paid, however, customers wanting to do so, may withdraw funds and use at a retail establishment, alternatively deposit the cash into the current account to which they hold a debit card for that can be used for online gambling.
Paying for friends and family’s goods purchased using the credit card in exchange for cash. Although more of a temporary solution to bypass the credit card ban, this is still an effective form. However, if repeated frequently could spiral out of control and fall into the category of a gambling addict, whose effect can include, manipulation, lying, theft, drugs, alcohol abuse, and result in a breakdown of relationships, and bad debt.
Are you a struggling Gambler?
If you have an issue with gambling and require help, there’s a variety of organisations that have been set up to assist. Please view our GamStop page for further information.