Gambling on credit cards to be banned

Britain's 24 million adult gamblers will not be able to use credit cards to gamble under a new rule. File

Britain's 24 million adult gamblers will not be able to use credit cards to gamble under a new rule. File

Britain will from April ban the use of credit cards to pay for bets, its gambling regulator announced on Tuesday, the latest clampdown on the industry.

Gambling businesses are to be banned from allowing consumers in Britain to use credit cards to gamble, the Gambling Commission said today.

The ban comes into effect on April 14 and follows a measure introduced a year ago by the British government to slash the maximum stake on electronic casino-style games aimed at curbing their addictive appeal.

Neil McArthur, the commission's chief executive, said: 'Credit card gambling can lead to significant financial harm.

According to analysts at Davy Stockbrokers, the ban on credit card usage for United Kingdom gambling deposits likely represents a low-single-digit percentage risk to related gaming revenues.

Major betting websites including PokerStars, Betfair, 888 and Bet365 all allow their customers to make deposits online using credit cards, which has led to warnings from campaigners that gamblers risk racking up huge debts.

'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'.

There are an estimated 24 million adult gamblers in the UK.

Culture Minister Helen Whately said: 'Whilst millions gamble responsibly, I have also met people whose lives have been turned upside down by gambling addiction. We will not hesitate to take any further action necessary to protect people from gambling harm'.

The ban will apply to all online and offline gambling products apart from non-remote lotteries, and it is hoped it will provide more protection to vulnerable people.

It said it would be a "disproportionate burden on retailers" to stop credit card payments if the tickets were part of a wider shop, but said lotteries had the lowest problem gambling rate.

Brigid Simmonds, chairwoman of the Betting and Gaming Council which represents the industry, said: "The Betting and Gaming Council is a body firmly committed to raising standards, safer gambling and change".

"We will implement a ban on credit cards which adds to measures such as age verification, markers of harm and affordability checks, additional funding for research, education and treatment and new codes of conduct to protect the consumer".

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