Evaluation of Ban on Credit Cards Published by UKGC

Evaluation of Ban on Credit Cards Published by UKGC

The Gambling Commission in the UK has published an interim evaluation of the credit card ban it imposed on betting. The assessment appears to point to the fact that the action has proven to be popular among players and hasn’t led to harmful side effects.

Why the Ban Came into Effect and What’s Happened Since

The Commission introduced the credit card ban in the UK in April of last year. The idea was to add further protection to customers and make it problematic to gamble with borrowed money.

Evidence suggested that some players with higher debt levels were using credit rather than cash to place bets. When financial and gambling behaviours were monitored following the ban, several things were discovered, including:

  • The number of customers betting with borrowed money had remained stagnant
  • There has been no uptick in reported illegal funds being used via gambling
  • Customers have largely supported the ban, many reporting that it has helped them regain or retain control of their gambling finances
  • Bank data shows no sharp increase in credit card gambling, despite there being ways around the ban
  • There was no sharp increase in cash machine withdrawals using credit cards at the time of the ban or in the months following it

The evaluation has highlighted that a well-known bank has observed the number and value of gambling-related withdrawals using credit cards to have come to a lower level than before.

Some credit card use within the gambling sector was expected and still exists because lotteries and competitions can still be entered using credit.

To bolster the ban, most e-wallet and electronic money transaction firms have also blocked spending on gambling if the funds originated from a credit card account.

Where the Data is From and Future Evaluation

Some of the sources used to form the evaluation were the Gambling Commission’s Online Tracker survey, which collates data every three months from an average of 2,000 people aged 18+, and the Consumer Voice research, which collects information from an online programme using thirty respondents.

There will be more monitoring of gambling behaviours, focusing on ensuring no increase in any form of gambling-related harm.

The Commission has recruited NatCen Social Research to conduct evaluations of the credit card ban. These are slated to be completed by the first half of 2023, the Commission then using these findings to inform policy development further.

More research is obviously valuable to us all. Overall, as stated above, many people within the industry and/or affected by it fully support a credit card ban on gambling. The only irritating factor is that it is yet again aimed only in certain areas of the industry and not all.

For example, when stats are released regarding gambling-related harm, those making informed bets on horse racing or sports are often “lumped together” with all gamblers, including those with real issues.

Most regular poker players, horse bettors, and sports markets are happy not to use credit cards. However, what irks them is that those buying copious amounts of scratch cards and lottery tickets, with no way to be able to predict a result, are free to use credit as much as they like.

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