UK Credit Card Gambling Ban Comes Into Force on April 14

  • The UKGC's measure is primarily intended to protect the safety of consumers
  • It applies to online and offline gambling offerings, except for non-remote lotteries
  • The commission's CEO Neil McArthur said the move is especially relevant during lockdown
  • The ban was announced in January to further safeguard problem gamblers in Great Britain
woman holds credit card in hand while using laptop
The ban on the use of credit cards for gambling in the UK comes into force on April 14. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Protecting consumer safety

The United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC) is enforcing the ban on the use of credit cards for gambling from April 14 onwards. In a statement, the commission held that “protecting the safety of consumers is at the heart of today’s credit card gambling ban.”

The measure will apply to both offline and online gambling offerings. The sole exception is for buying tickets to non-remote lotteries. Customers will also not be able to fund e-wallets through a credit card in order to gamble. Licensed operators can now only offer e-wallet payment options that do not allow the use of credit card funds for gambling purposes. 

Relevance to the current situation

The UKGC’s chief executive officer, Neil McArthur, reinforced that using credit cards for gambling can often cause serious financial harm. People gamble with money they do not have, quickly racking up significant debts with credit cards. 

credit card ban is now more important than ever

He believes the credit card ban is now more important than ever due to the current nationwide coronavirus lockdown. 

The CEO informed that researchers have observed an uptick in the number of people using certain types of online gambling products, such as virtual sports and online slots, since the start of the UK lockdown. These are some of the more addictive forms of online gambling.

McArthur concluded his statement by vowing to continue making changes that will make the gambling space safer in Great Britain.

Announcement of the ban

The ban on the use of credit cards by gamblers was announced in January 2020 by the UKGC along with the Department for Culture, Media, and Sport. The country’s leading gambling regulatory body said it was an essential measure that gave further levels of protection to problem gamblers.

Approximately 800,000 of the 10.5 million people in Great Britain who gamble online use credit cards to fund their activity. According to research, 22% of these are categorized as problem gamblers.

A number of other nations have followed the example of the UKGC and attempted to introduce a similar ban in their own jurisdictions. These include authorities in Ireland, Spain, and Australia.