The UK Gambling Commission announced yesterday that gambling businesses will be banned from allowing British consumers to use credit cards to place wagers, starting from April 14th
According to Gambling Commission Chief Executive Neil McArthur, the commission’s Tuesday decision should “minimise the risks of harm to consumers from gambling with money they do not have.”
Dr Mark Griffiths, Distinguished Professor from Nottingham Trent University, shared his views on the possible consequences of the decision.
He said: “I’ve been researching in this area for 32 years now and one of the things that’s always concerned me is the idea that gamblers can gamble with credit and money they haven’t got. I mean the move to ban credit cards being used for gamblers, I think, is a positive move. Obviously, people can still use their debit cards, at least with debit cards, it’s usually money they’ve got in the first place, but obviously, with credit cards, this is something that, traditionally, people don’t necessarily have the money to do it.
“I think one of the reasons that the gambling commission wanted to introduce this is they’ve done their own research and they said that 22 percent of online gamblers that use credit cards for online gambling were actually problem gamblers, and that is obviously a lot higher amongst that particular group, and we find across the general population, this does seem to be a move that they’ve got the interests of the problem gambler at heart.”
He added that although the issue of problem gambling will not be eliminated through these measures that it is a “step in the right direction” and encourages the gambling industry to consider their harm minimisation policies on problem gambling.
Mr Griffiths said: “Well, I certainly think the industry, now they know if they want operating licenses, they’ve got to show what they’re doing in terms of player protection, harm minimization, responsible gambling and social responsibility. By that I mean their duty of care to their customers. Obviously, gambling, just like tobacco and alcohol, it’s a consumptive product, which, at the end of the day for a small minority of people can cause problems.”
Adam Bradford, co-founder of the Safer Online Gambling Group, said: “This is excellent news and it will provide an extra layer of support for 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.”
Gambling firms saw their shares slide in reaction to the new legislation to ban the use of credit cards for online bets when the markets opened yesterday.
Online specialist 888 saw shares slide 3.3 per cent, William Hill shares fell 3.2 per cent, Ladbrokes owner GVC Holdings dropped 2.8 per cent and Paddy Power owner Flutter sank 1.4 per cent in early trading.