According to the latest House of Commons developments, the Conservative government is sympathetic towards Deputy Labour leader Tom Watson’s calls for more regulation in the gambling industry, including a credit card ban on gambling transactions.
On Thursday in the House of Commons the Culture Secretary, Jeremy Wright, stated that such a move was currently under consideration and that he has a “good deal of sympathy” with Labour’s call to ban credit card gambling.
He also reminded the House that the United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC) is currently undertaking a review which is looking at the possibility of imposing a credit card gambling ban.
Steps Have Been Taken
Problem gambling is an issue which never seems to be out of the news at the moment.
Politicians are well aware of the issue and the Labour party has been the most vocal about the need for more regulation and stricter rulings.
The UKGC has been exploring many different avenues in a bid to help safeguard players against problem gambling and its impact.
The UKGC is keen to emphasise that operators must do more to protect their players and act in a socially responsible manner.
The UKGC believe that operators have a duty to fulfil their obligations.
Neil McArthur, the CEO of the UKGC said in November of last year that:
“Our investigations found that a large number of operators and their senior management were not meeting their obligations.”
He went on:
“Everyone in a gambling business must understand its policies and procedures and take responsibility for properly applying them.”
The UKGC has imposed the following rulings around gambling in the recent past:
- Max FOBT bet reduced from £100 to £2
- Stricter identification checks which online casinos must conduct on new players
- Stricter rules around casino adverts
In May, the review into whether a credit card ban should be imposed is due to be published. The review will look into several other issues too, including how to address the problem of sluggish progress on self-exclusion schemes.
Will a Credit Card Ban Be Imposed?
It’s not unfathomable for a credit card ban to be imposed. Politicians of all colours are deeply concerned about what many have called the epidemic of problem gambling in the UK.
Credit card payments are the most popular depositing method for gamblers and pretty much every online casino will offer the option.
Also, it was revealed earlier in the year that up to 20% of deposits at some operators are made using money which the player doesn’t have.
These types of figures show that credit card gambling is perhaps the most prevalent form of depositing among those with gambling problems, and certainly the most accessible.
In fact, we think it is more likely than not that direct credit card payments will be banned on online gambling, or at least won’t operate in the same unrestricted way which they currently do.
Jeremy Wright has stated that the government will take action on the back of what the UKGC report suggests. And, all the signs appear to be pointing in the direction of a credit card ban.
Jeremy Wright (pictured) said in the Commons on Thursday:
“It is very clear that those who gamble with money they haven’t got find themselves very quickly in serious trouble.
“The Government will intend to take action on the back of what they (the UKGC) say.”
Banks have Taken Action
A number of banks have already taken the lead in banning credit card payments at online casinos.
Barclays were the first bank to take action, offering their customers the possibility of prohibiting payments to online casinos, gambling sites, lottery tickets, race tracks and betting shops.
Lloyds, Santander and Royal Bank of Scotland have also introduced an option to their services which will enable customers to stop transactions to gambling companies.
Also, many of the newer kids on the banking scene have also implemented measures to enable their customers control over gambling payments.
Cashplus now provides their customers with a one-click option which will prohibit any payments going to gambling and sports betting sites.
What Happens if a Credit Card Ban Comes into Effect?
A credit card ban would certainly change the nature of depositing. Players won’t be able to gamble with money which they don’t have with the same freedom as they currently have.
The UKGC would hope that such a ban would encourage more responsible gambling, which seems plausible if a credit card ban does indeed come into effect.
In short, reckless spending and gambling should, at least in theory, become much less easy to fall into.
And, of course, it will also lead to online casinos embracing different payment methods and technology.
What Other Mobile Payment Methods will be Available?
If a credit card ban does come into effect, it is currently unclear whether the ban will also extend to payment methods which use credit cards but aren’t strictly direct credit card payments.
We can only assume that the ban will only apply to direct credit card payments, as a whole host of payment services process card payments.
However, the majority of payments which are processed through these services actually come from debit and credit cards.
Methods which Don’t Require a Credit Card
That being said, there are two services which don’t require card payments: the pay by phone method and the voucher method.
Pay by phone deposits are made directly from your phone. The money is either subtracted from existing balances for pay-as-you-go users. or added to the regular phone bill of mobile contract users.
The pay by phone method only permits a maximum deposit amount of £30 per day. This is great for those players who like to control their spending, but hardly suitable for many players including the high-rollers.
Paysafecard is the most common service used for voucher payments. Players can purchase a Paysafecard voucher of £10, £25, £50 or £100 either online or at a store.
To make a Paysafecard deposit you enter the unique voucher number when prompted on the online casino depositing page.
The problem with both of these depositing methods is that they don’t offer players a lot of choice in terms of how much they can deposit.
What is Likely to be Available?
Realistically, there is no chance of these methods and similar ones becoming the only payment methods available to players at online casinos.
Online casino players come in many different forms and firms will want to offer the biggest range of depositing methods they can.
As a result, we think that even if credit card payments are banned, players will be able to use all of the familiar services which are currently available such as:
A Future Without Credit Card Gambling?
It will certainly be big news if a credit card ban is imposed on UK players. Still, if this leads to more responsible gambling as is hoped, then this is something we should all welcome.
However, there should still be many depositing methods available to players if a credit card ban comes into effect. Also, the door will be open for more depositing methods to emerge.