Addiction charity welcomes ban on credit cards for gambling

The use of credit cards for gambling will be banned from April 14 following a review by the Gambling Commission.
The use of credit cards for gambling will be banned from April 14 following a review by the Gambling Commission.

A ban on the use of credit cards for gambling has been welcomed by a gambling addiction charity.

The ban, which comes into effect on April 14, follows a review of online gambling by the Gambling Commission and the Government’s Review of Gaming Machines and Social Responsibility Measures.

A public consultation was also carried out in autumn last year.

Around 24 million adults in Britain gamble, with 10.5 million of those gambling online. UK Finance estimates that 800,000 consumers use credit cards to gamble.

Separate research undertaken by the Commission shows that 22 per cent of online gamblers using credit cards to gamble are classed as problem gamblers – with even more at some risk of harm.

The ban will apply to all online and offline gambling products, with the exception of non-remote lotteries.

Adam Bradford, co-founder of the Safer Online Gambling Group (SOGG), said: “This is welcome news and it will provide an extra layer of support for the hundreds of thousands of people who are addicted to gambling.

“It has been a long time in coming and we are glad the commission have acted decisively on this matter.”

However, Adam added: “This not a silver bullet to solve the problem as the gambling industry still needs to improve in many areas – for instance, performing better affordability checks on players and being more careful with its advertising.

“I hope the industry will react positively and continue to strive to be more responsible.”

Adam set up SOGG, a non-profit organisation, with his father David, who ended up spending time in jail after stealing money to fund his gambling habit.

He racked up debts of over £500,000 and remortgaged the family home in secret to pay for his spiralling online gambling addiction.

Neil McArthur, Gambling Commission chief executive, said:“Credit card gambling can lead to significant financial harm.

“The ban that we have announced should minimise the risks of harm to consumers from gambling with money they do not have.

‘“We know there are examples of consumers who have accumulated tens of thousands of pounds of debt through gambling because of credit card availability.”