The UK Gambling Commission has announced a plan that will bring an end to gambling on credit cards later this year.
The UK regulator made the decision following a review of online gambling, and picks up on similar findings from a UK government report entitled “Review of Gaming Machines and Social Responsibility Measures.”
According to the new policy, credit card gambling will no longer be permissible at UK casinos from April 2020. The move applies to all types of online and remote gambling, and includes offline gambling.
The regulator said the policy is designed to protect consumers, especially vulnerable groups, from running up gambling debts on credit cards. Players will now be required to fund their betting from cash, debit cards or other means of payment, without recourse to credit card products.
According to research reviewed by the Commission, as many as 22% of those gambling regularly on credit cards exhibited some signs of problem gambling. The move is designed to make it more difficult for these vulnerable individuals to gamble in this way, which the regulator hopes will introduce an additional layer of protection for those affected.
The exception to the rule is lottery tickets and scratch cards purchased face to face, which can still be bought on credit cards. This is to account for scenarios where customers buy shopping on credit cards alongside these gambling products, which the Commission accepts would be disproportionately challenging to administer for retailers.
While the Commission has noted that the policy will be inconvenient to a number of responsible gamblers, they have said it is their hope that the benefits from harm reduction should outweigh the downsides overall.
There is likely to be a knock-on impact for gambling operators too, with their responsible gambling customers equally affected by the changes. This will no doubt have an effect on revenue, and comes as only the latest wave of regulation to adversely affect the gambling sector.
While the impact on employment in the sector remains to be seen, legitimate operators have broadly welcomed the move as part of their commitment to responsible gambling.