The government is considering taking steps to prevent people across the UK from using their credit cards to gamble.
The possibility has arisen after it was found that up to 20 per cent of deposits placed with some gambling companies were attributed to credit card payments and therefore to borrowed money.
Relevant parties, including banking groups and bookmakers, are to be asked to provide their opinions on these issues to the government as part of a broader effort to assess what more might be done to make gambling businesses more socially responsible.
Culture secretary Jeremy Wright has told gambling operators that they could face seeing their licenses to trade revoked if they are not capable of or willing to protect people who are clearly at risk of harming themselves through gambling.
Banning the option of gambling via credit cards is seen as potentially part of a package of reforms that could help reduce the number of people who find themselves falling into serious debt problems as a result of gambling habits and addictions.
“Protecting people from the risks of gambling related harm is vital and all businesses with connections to gambling – be that bookmakers, social media platforms or banks – must be socially responsible,” Mr Wright has said.
“The government will not hesitate to act if businesses don’t continue to make progress in this area and do all they can to ensure vulnerable people are protected.
“Gambling operators must step in and act when people are showing signs of risky gambling. Their licences are at risk if they do not.”
Mr Wright has also said that he wants to ensure that banks that enable people to prevent themselves from placing bets are held to account for any failings in these contexts.
It was announced recently that several of the UK’s leading banks have introduced features on the mobile apps that offer users the option of blocking specific types of payment in order to restrict their spending.
“Self-exclusion schemes are essential but must be properly policed and effective to support the individual that has taken the decision to opt-out,” Mr Wright said.
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