Credit gambling under review

The ability to fund online gambling accounts with a credit card could be stopped under government plans. The culture secretary confirmed this was an area he wanted the Gambling Commission to investigate.

A Mastercard credit card

Using credit cards to gamble online could soon be banned. © Pexels.

Currently, £1 in every £5 deposited at online gambling sites by UK customers is done so by way of a credit card. A restriction on this payment method could affect billions of pounds in transactions for operators but the culture secretary Jeremy Wright announced this is under review.

The ability to gamble using credit is quickly becoming a focus for anti-gambling campaigners and addiction charities. Jeremy Wright has promised he would ensure both banking executives and gambling industry representatives would be forced to sit at the same meeting table to discuss the issue.

With an estimated 500,000 Brits suffering from gambling-related issues, harm minimisation for the most vulnerable is a priority for the UK government.

Wright voiced concerns that bookmakers are making money from consumers when 20% of this revenue is funded by credit. He believed it was worrying that customers didn’t have the funds to play so they were in effect gambling with money that they didn’t actually own. The former Attorney General for England and Wales said:

We should also ask if it is right that people should be able to gamble on credit and this is an area that the Gambling Commission are going to look into.Jeremy Wright, culture secretary

The culture secretary is likely to come under increased pressure in his role to tackle the growing threat of problem gambling. Unlike some European countries, the take-up of harm reduction measures in the UK has been slow, not helped by failures and the fragmented nature of their roll-outs.

The UK gambling regulator, the Gambling Commission, had to write to industry trade body, the Remote Gambling Association (RGA), to warn of failings of its self-exclusion scheme GamStop.

The scheme, which is funded directly by the industry, initially suffered delays in being implemented and the commission said they were “yet to see proper evidence of the effectiveness” of the scheme.

The Guardian Newspaper had previously exposed flaws in the fundamental way that GamStop works. Another finding of the commission was that self-exclusion using the GamStop platform didn’t remove the person from mailing lists.

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