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Credit card gambling to be banned in industry shake-up


Credit card gambling to be banned in industry shake-up

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Brits are to be banned from using credit cards across all betting platforms in a bid to control problem gambling and help vulnerable customers.

The Gambling Commission announcement will see the ban come into place on April 14 after they completed reviews of the industry alongside the government.

All betting activities, both online and offline, will be subject to the ban, with the only exception being “non-remote lotteries” such as the National Lottery – which sees its tickets bought in stores.

The Commission stated that it would be a “disproportionate burden on retailers” to disallow credit card payments if the tickets were purchased alongside other items, but said lotteries had the lowest problem gambling rate.

Their research showed that 24 million adults across the nation take part in gambling, with 10.5 million of those adults doing so online.

It was also revealed that separate research found that 22% of online gamblers using credit cards fall into the problem gambler category.

Neil McArthur, Gambling Commission chief executive, said: “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.

“We also know that there are examples of consumers who have accumulated tens of thousands of pounds of debt through gambling because of credit card availability.

“There is also evidence that the fees charged by credit cards can exacerbate the situation because the consumer can try to chase losses to a greater extent.”

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Under the new regulations, all online betting sites will be required to take part in the GAMSTOP scheme and must offer it to customers from March 31.

The self-exclusion programme allows those who sign up to be ‘blocked’ from all British gambling apps and sites for a set period of time.

Culture Minister Helen Whately added: “We have been clear to all businesses that have connections to gambling, such as operators, social media platforms and banks, that they must be socially responsible and use the power of technology and data to help consumers manage their spending and protect them from harm.

“I have been encouraged by the majority of major high street banks introducing measures to allow customers to switch off spending on gambling through mobile apps.

“By making it a regulatory requirement for all online gambling websites licensed in Great Britain to sign up to GAMSTOP. I am confident that people who have taken the significant step to opt-out of gambling will be well supported, alongside a wide range of other tools.”

The announcement caused gambling firms to see their shares drop by over 3% before quickly recovering later in the day (Jan 13).

Mr McArthur went on to warn that although the ban is likely to reduce gambling harm, it will need to be accompanied by other efforts.

“The ban is part of our ongoing work to reduce gambling harm. We also need to continue the work we have been doing with gambling operators and the finance industry to ensure consumers only gamble with money they can afford to spend.”

If you’ve been struggling with gambling and it’s been affecting your finances, call us today on 0808 2234 102. Our dedicated experts are on hand to work through your debts with you and offer you advice and solutions tailored to your situation.

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