The beginning of this year witnessed the placement of a credit card ban on betting sites in the United Kingdom. It was gathered that this was due to a heavy crackdown on responsible gambling thereby resulting in problem gambling.
The ban which took off from the 14th April 2020 was welcomed because online gambling had increased drastically in the wake of the coronavirus lockdown.
The Gambling Commission, which licenses and regulates gambling in the UK reverts to research that reveals that over 10 million people in the UK gamble online with 800,000 believed to use credit cards. Of these, it says an estimated 175,000 are thought to be ‘problem’ gamblers in financial distress as a result of gambling addiction.
“Credit card gambling can lead to significant financial harm. The ban that we have announced today should minimize the risk of harm to consumers from gambling with money they do not have.
We also 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”,
said Neil McArthur, Gambling Commission Chief Executive.
The Key Impacts of the Credit Card Ban
McArthur also added that he was aware the ban would inconvenience members of the public but felt it was worth it to protect those at risk.
“We realize 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.
He further stated that the ban would be re-evaluated, once there was evidence of the effects they were having.
“The ban is part of our ongoing work to reduce gambling harm. 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.”
Culture Minister Helen Whatley 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 right that we act decisively to protect them”.
Furthermore, it was discovered that revenues in Britain’s gambling industry reached 14.4 billion pounds ($18.7 billion) between 2018 and 2019 according to data from the Gambling Commission. The UK’s highest-paid CEO in 2019 was Denise Coates, chief executive and founder of one of the largest betting companies, who took home a 422 million pounds paycheque.
Implications of Lockdown Rise in Online Gambling
The Gambling Commission has put in place some steps to improve customer protection. They include:
- Increasing monitoring of unlicensed non-UK online betting sites trying to reach a UK audience, with the action taken as necessary.
- Highlighting all facilities available on UK online betting sites that allow users to set a limit on how much they can spend on such sites.
- Reminding individuals that they can ask gambling operators to exclude them from using a site for a particular period. This service known as GAMSTOP must be offered by all UK online betting sites.
- Partnering with Twitter to enable gambling content-related restrictions on users’ feeds.
We believe it is a step in the right direction and will help curb the issue of problem gambling.
At the Safer Gambling Week held from the 19th – 25th of November, it was gathered that a major part of the campaign consists of ways to manage gambling habits which include:
1. Set your limits for time and money.
2. Only spend what you can afford.
3. Gambling should not interfere with your personal life.
4. Gambling when angry or sad is never a good idea.
5. Gambling is not the answer to any problem.
A number of the world's most prominent gaming platforms have come together to support people with gambling problems. This they do by helping them with free materials, insights, researches, and even specialist knowledge.