Credit card gambling ban comes into effect today for UK licensed operators

The credit card ban for all forms of remote gambling (ie betting, gaming and lotteries) and for non-remote betting – announced by the UK Gambling Commission on 14 January 2020 (as previously reported by us here) – has come into effect today, 14 April 2020.

Under the heading “Protecting the safety of consumers is at the heart of today’s credit card gambling ban”, the Gambling Commission states as follows in a posting on its website published today:

The regulator of Great Britain’s gambling industry says the credit card ban which comes into force today (14 April) will add another vital layer of protection for consumers.

In January, the Gambling Commission and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) announced the widely-publicised ban – meaning that from today any consumer gambling will not be able to use a credit card as payment. The ban extends to credit card gambling through e-wallets.

The Commission said it is an important step forward in protecting the 10.5 million people who gamble online from harm – with statistics showing that 800,000 individuals in the UK use credit cards to gamble. Research also highlights that 22% of online gamblers using credit cards are problem gamblers, with even more suffering some form of gambling harm.

Neil McArthur, Gambling Commission chief executive, said:

“This credit card ban will further protect consumers from financial harm and from today, nobody in Great Britain can use a credit card to gamble. It is a ban which ultimately reduces the risks of harm to consumers from gambling with money they do not have.

The ban also comes at a vital time as we are seeing an increase in the use of some online products, such as online slots and virtual sports, and our online search analysis shows an increase in UK consumer interest in gambling products since the lockdown began. This highlights just how important it is for gambling operators to keep people safe and the credit card ban will help that.

This is another milestone and we will continue to looking for ways to make gambling safer.”

The Commission also reminded operators that they can only accept customer payments via e-wallets if those e-wallets prevent credit card use for gambling.

Some players may be changing their gambling habits during the Covid-19 outbreak and the Commission has also taken steps in the past week to remind consumers of how gambling operators should be keeping them safe when gambling online.

If anyone is worried about their or someone else’s gambling activity, The National Gambling Helpline provides confidential information, advice and support for anyone affected by gambling problems in England, Scotland and Wales. For more information visit gamcare.org.uk or call 0808 8020 133.

The credit card ban follows the Commission’s review of online gambling and the Government’s Review of Gaming Machines and Social Responsibility Measures. A public consultation was carried out between August and November 2019.

You can download the Commission’s website posting below.

UPDATE: We also draw your attention to our subsequent website postings entitled: