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Gamblers in the UK banned from using credit cards

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14/01/2020
Gamblers in the UK will be banned from using credit cards from April, the Gambling Commission has announced.

The ban, which comes into effect on 14 April, follows the Commission’s review of online gambling.

In total, 24 million adults in the UK gamble, with 10.5 million gambling online.

Around 800,000 people use credit cards to gamble, according to UK Finance.

Separate research by the Gambling Commission found 22% of online gamblers using credit cards to gamble are classed as problem gamblers.

The Commission said the ban, which will apply to all online and offline gambling products with the exception of non-remote lotteries, will provide a significant layer of additional protection to vulnerable people.

Neil McArthur, chief executive of the Gambling Commission said: “Credit card gambling can lead to significant financial harm. The ban that we have announced today should minimise the risks of harm to consumers from gambling with money they do not have.

“We 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.”

While McArthur acknowledged that that some gamblers used credit cards because they are convenient, the risk of harm to others was too high to allow the use of credit cards to continue.

“We realise that this change will inconvenience those consumers who use credit cards responsibly but we are satisfied that reducing the risk of harm to other consumers means that action must be taken,” he said.

Lives turned upside down

Culture Minister Helen Whately said: “Whilst millions gamble responsibly, I have also met people whose lives have been turned upside down by gambling addiction.

“There is clear evidence of harm from consumers betting with money they do not have, so it is absolutely right that we act decisively to protect them.”

This is the latest move to protect people from gambling harm.

Other measures include cutting the maximum stake on fixed odds betting terminals, bringing in tighter age and identity checks for online gambling and expanding national specialist support through the NHS Long Term Plan.

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