It will soon be illegal for gambling companies to allow their customers to place bets via credit card payments.
The Gambling Commission, which regulates the UK’s betting industry, has said that it will completely ban betting via credit cards from April 14th 2020.
The move could have a significant impact on the betting habits of consumers across the country, with an estimated 800,000 people using their credit cards to bet as of 2018.
It’s understood that the use of credit cards on betting websites is commonly associated with problem gambling and will very often lead people into debt problems as well.
Both online and offline forms of gambling will be affected by the ban on credit cards, which the Gambling Commission hopes will represent a “significant layer of additional protection to vulnerable people”.
An estimated 24 million people across the UK currently gamble, with most doing so via offline mechanisms but around 10.5 Brits now betting online.
The latest figures suggest that roughly 22 per cent of all online gamblers who use credit cards to place bets are problem gamblers.
For a significant number of people, being able to place bets via credit cards has meant falling tens of thousands of pounds into debt when their betting problems have spiralled out of control.
Inevitably, the fees associated with credit card debts have also quickly mounted up for a lot of addicted gamblers, who can all-too easily then find themselves faced with major financial difficulties.
Of course, many consumers use credit cards to gamble in ways that aren’t harmful to them or anyone else but the Gambling Commission has taken the view that the potential benefits of its credit card ban outweigh any inconveniences it may cause.
“We will evaluate the ban and watch closely for any unintended circumstances for consumers,” explained Neil McAuthur, chief executive of the Gambling Commission.
“We also need to continue the work we have been doing with gambling operators and the finance industry to ensure consumers only gamble with money they can afford to spend,” he said.
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