The UK Fights Gambling Addiction by Banning Credit Card Bets
The UK Gambling Commission has taken another step to curb gambling addiction in the country. Starting April 14, gamblers will no longer be able to place bets while using credit cards.
The new rule will apply both to online and offline gambling venues, excluding lottery tickets. People will still be able to pay for their tickets with their credit cards as long as it is not the only item they purchase.
The new ban follows a series of changes that are all designed to decrease addiction rates among casino players across the country. In recent years, the UK government also put a cap on the maximum stake rates in gambling venues.
Moreover, the Gambling Commission introduced harsher identification protocols at online casinos, while expanding support options to anyone with a gambling problem.
All those measures were taken to help reduce the number of gambling addicts in the country. According to statistics, published by the Gambling Commission, there are 24 million adult gamblers in the UK, out of which 10.5 million choose to gamble online. It is being estimated that approximately 800,000 of those players use credit cards as the main payment option in casinos.
A separate study stated that 22% of online gamblers who use credit cards are considered as problem gamblers, with even more players at risk of becoming ones.
While allowing players to pay for gambling with credit cards is the most convenient payment option available to the masses, evidence shows that it creates unnecessary risks. Players generate thousands of pounds in debt without even noticing, and once they do – the situation becomes even more dangerous.
By using credit cards when gambling, problem gamblers manage to rack up massive debts, sometimes even using credit cards that belong to family members. That type of behaviour puts a massive strain on dozens of families across the UK, and the new regulations are set to remedy the issue.
Neil McArthur, chief executive of the Commission, also explained that the additional fees that accompany credit card transactions lead problem gamblers to panic. The rapidly rising debt leads them to try to get their money back in a riskier fashion, as they are willing to take greater risks to get out of debt. In turn, that can serve to aggravate the situation and increase their debts even more.
McArthur also stated that the Commission is planning to follow the impact the credit card ban will have on other gamblers, and they will do their best to reduce any inconveniences.
A few experts in the field expressed their doubt regarding the efficiency of the new regulations, as they predict the ban will reduce the number of problem gamblers by a very small percentage. However, in combination with previous regulations, maybe it will be enough to have a positive influence on more players at risk of developing a gambling addiction.
The UK Gambling Commission has been making attempts to make gambling safer for a few years now. In addition to passing new laws, the government now also provides better assistance to those who are impacted by uncontrolled gambling behaviour.
If you, or anyone you know, are experiencing problems with gambling, you can get help in various ways. GamCare offers information and counselling for problem gamblers in the country. In addition to providing face-to-face meetings, the organization also runs the National Gambling Helpline (0808 8020 133).
There’s also the Gordon Moody Association which offers a variety of courses to help people with a gambling problem, in addition to running an online platform that provides support to problem gamblers and their family members.
More info about where you can seek help can be found on the NHS website.