As of April 14th, 2020, UK customers will no longer be able to use their credit cards for their betting accounts. This new regulation, which was first announced in January 2020, applies to all areas of betting, including online and offline gambling products, except for non-remote lotteries.
What led to this change?
This decision was made by the Gambling Commission in Great Britain following their review of online gambling, as well as a public consultation between August and November of 2019. The Government also carried out a Review of Gaming Machines and Social Responsibility Measures.
Over the past year leading up to this decision, Culture Minister Helen Whately said that a number of changes have already been put in place, including stricter age and identity checks, reducing the maximum stake allowed on betting terminals with fixed odds, and increasing the amount of national specialist support through the NHS Long Term Plan. Whately also said that five of the biggest gambling operators have committed to allocating some of their funds for those seeking treatment for gambling issues.
GAMSTOP and Twitter
The Gambling Commission has made changes to license conditions, requiring all those who operate online gambling to participate in GAMSTOP, which allows customers to limit or restrict their online gambling activities. This service will be offered to customers from March 31, 2020 onward.
The Commission has also partnered with Twitter to offer users the ability to limit the amount of content related to gambling that appears on their feed. These two tools are available, along with other gambling blocking software and payment card blocking, for any individual who may require them.
Research used by The Gambling Commission has indicated that 24 million adults in Great Britain gamble, with nearly half of those, at 10.5 million, gambling online. UK Finance has estimated that around 800,000 people use their credit cards to gamble.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown
With recent worldwide events surrounding the Coronavirus and subsequent lockdown, online gambling has increased alongside the implementation of this credit card ban.
Gambling Commission chief executive, Neil McArthur, said that not only has there been an increase in the amount of online products available, such as online slots and virtual sports, but that analysis also shows an increase in the interest in gambling products since the lockdown began.
How this affects those gambling
All UK customers will no longer be able to use their credit cards to make deposits in their account. Credit cards will no longer be accepted for: eWallets, PayPal, Apple Pay.
Customers will still be able to use debit cards and prepaid cards to deposit funds into their accounts.
The Commission will also be increasing their monitoring and targeting of unlicensed, non-UK sites, ensuring customers have access mainly to UK sites.
What payment methods are still accepted?
After April 14th, customers can still use a debit card or prepaid card. They can also use an eWallet, as long as it is topped up with a debit card. If customers put money from their debit card and credit card on PayPal, for example, they will only be able to use the funds that came from their debit card.
With these changes, individuals can still use a credit card to purchase ‘good cause’ lottery tickets, as long as tickets are purchased alongside other items at a supermarket or corner shop.
How to withdraw funds?
Customers will no longer be able to register a new credit card to their account. Customers that linked a credit card to their account previous to this change should still be able to withdraw funds from that linked credit card.
What about leftover credit card balances?
If a customer deposited funds into their account before April 14th, they will still be able to use that balance after the cut-off date. The new rules only apply from April 14th onwards.
Culture Minister Helen Whately stated that any businesses that operate or have any connection to gambling have a responsibility over the technology they are using in regards to consumers and their spending. Whately said that a review of the Gambling Act will be conducted in 2020 to ensure the act is suitable for the digital age.
Gambling Commission chief executive Neil McArthur acknowledged that this change in credit card usage may inconvenience some gamblers, but did mention that the ban, and other measures, will be evaluated going forward.