UK Gambling Regulator to Ban Online Credit Card Bets

  • UKGC ban seeks to address problem gambling concerns and protect vulnerable players
  • Customers will be limited to using debit cards to avoid spending beyond their means
  • Gambling firms will be required to sign up to GamStop scheme to be able to operate
female's hand holding credit card while on laptop
The UKGC is said to announce its ban on credit card usage at online gambling sites tomorrow as it focuses on increasing its protection of vulnerable customers. [Image:]

Updated: The UK Gambling Commission announced on January 14 that the ban on gambling operators that allow consumers to use credit cards will come into effect on April 14.

Commission takes action

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) is expected to announce a ban on credit card bets in Great Britain, with rules due to be revealed as soon as tomorrow.

This is the latest move by the gambling regulator to protect vulnerable people as concerns rise about the effect gambling can have on people’s lives, reports The Guardian.

Some of the gambling operators that allow their customers to place bets online using credit cards include 888, Bet365, Betfair, and PokerStars. This has led to campaigners issuing warnings about rising gambling debts.

Ban will impose other restrictions

According to the news report, the Gambling Commission is expected to unveil a full credit card ban for the use of online gambling accounts. Additionally, customers will be limited to using their debit cards to avoid spending more than they can afford.

customers will be limited to using their debit cards to avoid spending more than they can afford

E-wallets such as PayPal are likely to be included in the ban as well. A previous report from last year showed that such providers had enabled customers to spend as much as £150,000 ($195,000) a day gambling online.

Plans in the pipeline since 2019

The credit card consideration by the gambling watchdog follows after much debate last year. Back in August 2019, it was indicated that restrictions on credit cards were likely in the UK for online gambling.

At the time, the UKGC had launched a consultation on the issue, requesting public feedback via an online survey.

Additionally, in the run-up to the December general election, the UK’s Liberal Democrat party pledged that there would be a credit card ban for gamblers if they won the election.

GamStop membership a requirement

On top of the credit card ban, the Gambling Commission is also expected to announce that GamStop, the online self-exclusion scheme, will become a requirement for online casinos to operate.

Until this is in place, individuals who want to block themselves from gambling must sign up to GamStop themselves. This prevents them from opening up new online gambling accounts elsewhere.

The move from the UKGC to get bookmakers and casinos to sign up to the scheme has only been approved now, following concerns from the commission that those who had signed up to be excluded would still be sent material encouraging them to gamble.

Since GamStop’s launch in 2018, it is thought that over 50,000 people have signed up to it. Yet, an early 2019 report from the BBC showed that a gambler who had self-excluded themselves could still place a bet by simply changing their user details.

The GamStop membership prerequisite for UK gambling operators suggests that the Gambling Commission is satisfied with the scheme’s effectiveness.

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