Well, Gamstop and Citizens Advice have been calling for it for two years, and The Gambling Commission is finally ready to make its move.
Betting on credit is to be banned in the UK from April 14th.
“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.”
That means that customers will no longer be able to deposit using credit cards, and ewallet payments could also be affected.
Bring me up to Speed
The ability to bet with borrowed money has been a cause for concern for a while now, with stories aplenty of customers spending way more than they can afford and spiralling into addiction and debt.
One lady lost £54,000 in a single night during a gambling spree that was worth £380,000 in wagers. She also used 9 different credit cards to enable her to keep betting with money she could not afford to lose.
Another gambler, Chris Murphy, who has been trying to quit gambling for 10 years has lost over £100,000 with credit cards being responsible for many of his re-lapses.
The Labour party have had a policy on the issue since 2018, and the fact that it gathered cross-party support speaks volumes.
Culture Minister, Helen Whatley was in full support:
“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.”
On top of that, various gambling help organisations have been calling for the move to be made official in recent years.
Further Impact – Ewallets
The news that ewallets could be included in the ban could come as a bit of a shock to many punters who favour methods like PayPal and Skrill.
Yet these ewallets could allow punters to get around the credit card ban very easily, so it would be ineffective if these were not included. They are already used by some with gambling issues to get around banking limits.
The result of all of this could leave punters with no option but to use a debit card to make deposits. This is good news in terms of responsible gambling, but bad news for those punters who like to retain some sense of anonymity.
It could even force some gamblers back to the high street where cash is still an option, which in turn could have an impact on smaller online bookies that aren’t able to compete with the high street brands.
The only method of gambling not affected will be the lottery, but only if tickets are bought in supermarkets and newsagents along with other shopping.
GamStop has been heavily involved in this move, so will no doubt be pleased with the developments. They are an oganisation that people with gambling problems can sign up to in order to effectively block themselves from all online bookies who work with GamStop.
The obvious issue here is that not all bookies do work with GamStop, so problem gamblers could simply go to one of them.
However, alongside the credit card ban, the Gambling Commission has also announced that membership of GamStop will be a condition of gaining a gambling licence from March 31st.
This means that all bookies operating in the UK will have to be signed up by law, so it will be much harder for anyone who has previously asked GamStop to help them to open new accounts elsewhere, essentially removing their ability to gamble online.