Lib Dems Pledge Credit Card Ban for Gamblers in Case of UK Election Win

  • UKGC consultation on credit card gambling already taking place
  • Lib Dems calling for outright ban regardless of commission's findings
  • Party considering further gambling measures if elected to government
player using credit card to pay for mobile betting
The Liberal Democrats have pledged to impose an outright ban on credit cards usage in gambling if they win the next UK general election. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Party advocates complete ban

The UK’s Liberal Democrats are calling for a full-blown ban on the use of credit cards to pay for gambling transactions. The proposed measure comes as part of the party’s promise to tackle problem gambling in Britain.

ban on credit cards for gambling would come into force if leader Jo Swinson comes to power

The Lib Dems say the ban on credit cards for gambling would come into force if leader Jo Swinson comes to power in the general election on December 12. The party would need to win an additional 306 seats to make that happen.

Alternatively, the Liberal Democrats would have to form a minority government with another political party. Before Parliament was dismissed on the November 6, the party had just 20 Members of Parliament out of a possible 650.

Other calls for stringent measures

Previously, Labour’s now ex-deputy leader Tom Watson had called for stringent measures on online gambling. These included an overhaul of the 2005 Gambling Act to “bring it into the digital age”.

Fixed-odds betting terminals were capped at the lower level starting April, signifying a huge drop from the previous maximum stake of £100. Critics believed this would lead to thousands of job losses. Gambling in the UK currently supports around 100,000 employees.

More recently, an all-party group (APPG) developed new plans for the Act which were outlined in an interim report earlier in November. It called for maximum online stakes to be subject to the same as those in stores at just £2.

A sticking point for the UKGC

Credit cards have long been a sticking point for the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC). The commission is currently coming to the end of a consultation with the public on the matter, which could form part of further action taken in the new year.

Liberal Democrats want to leapfrog any significant findings by the commission and head straight for an outright ban

The UKGC has hinted it will look at the potential for a full ban, but only on the advice of industry and consumers. There is also the possibility of looking at alternative forms of borrowing for gambling purposes.

In their new statement, the Liberal Democrats want to leapfrog any significant findings by the commission and head straight for an outright ban on credit cards. The party was very vocal on the FOBT lower-stake limit last year.

Lib Dems in favor of bold action

The Liberal Democrats are known as the ‘stop Brexit’ party, and they are openly campaigning on a promise to remain in the EU.

Layla Moran, the spokesperson on culture, said the Lib Dems are taking “bold and decisive action”. She added: “It is heart-breaking to see many vulnerable people fall further into debt as gambling becomes ever-more consuming. But, as ever with this mean-spirited Government, the Conservatives have neglected the problem. They had to be dragged kicking and screaming to support the Lib Dem-led initiative to reduce the maximum stake for FOBTs and have no interest in protecting the vulnerable any further.”

The party has also announced it would introduce a compulsory levy on firms, curbs on advertising, and an independent ombudsman. This is in spite of the recent measures put forward by operators, which include the creation of a new industry representative body and a voluntary levy.