UK Gambling Commission to ban use of credit cards for all gambling from April 2020

As part of its overall commitment to responsible gaming, the UK Gambling Commission announced in January 2020 that all credit cards will be banned for any online or offline gambling from 14 April 2020. This announcement follows on from the government’s Review of Gaming Machines and Social Responsibility Measures, and builds on the Commission’s own review of online gambling, which took place from August to November 2019.

About the ban on using credit cards for gambling…

Figures show that gambling has become a real problem for adults in the UK, with up to 24 million people gambling regularly. Of this total, 10.5 million individuals gamble online. It’s currently estimated that at least 800,000 people in the UK used credit cards to gamble online in 2018 (figures sourced from UK Finance, and relate purely to UK-issued credit cards). Additional research from the UK Gambling Commission has flagged up that around 22% of people using credit cards to gamble online are what are termed as “problem or compulsive gamblers”. The Commission feel this is the tip of the iceberg, and more consumers actually suffer some type of harm from gambling.

Neil McArthur, the Chief Executive of the Gambling Commission, commented: “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.”

What this ban means

The April ban on the use of credit cards for gambling encompasses all forms of online and offline gambling, including all remote payments for lottery tickets. Consumers using e-wallets, such as PayPal, will also be banned from topping up their e-wallet using credit cards. 

This ban is one of a series of measures recently put into place, these include:

– Cutting the maximum allowable bets on all fixed-odds betting terminals

– Ensuring all online gambling providers have registered with the GAMSTOP addiction and self-exclusion scheme

Further measures to provide safer gambling throughout the UK will be announced in 2020.