On 14 August 2019 the Gambling Commission launched a 12-week consultation on its plans to ban the use of credit cards for online gambling deposits, or to introduce limits or restrictions on the use of credit cards. Gambling solicitor Richard Williams explains who the proposed changes will affect, and what this means for the future of online gambling.
What is the proposal?
In a bid to make online gambling safer, the Gambling Commission has proposed plans to ban people from using their credit cards to make bets. By preventing people from using credit cards for gambling, it is hoped that gamblers will be protected from building up huge debts which they cannot afford.
Who will the ban apply to?
If the ban is introduced, it will be effective from April 2020 and will apply to online betting, casino, bingo and lottery operators. It is also proposed that the ban will apply to land-based betting shops where, unlike casinos and other land-based gambling premises, the restriction on using credit cards does not currently apply.
The Commission acknowledges that banning gambling on credit cards could have unintended consequences, such as individuals using overdrafts or loans to fund their gambling. Similarly, where deposits are made through e-wallets, gambling operators have no way of knowing whether the payment originated from a credit card. If the ban is introduced, the Commission will therefore need to ban the use of e-wallets for gambling deposits, or e-wallet providers will be required to impose similar restrictions. The Commission is writing to e-wallet providers to see how it could restrict credit card deposits for gambling, to avoid the ban being circumvented by those intent on gambling using credit cards.
This direction of travel has been signposted for a long time, as the Gambling Commission ramps up its policy of protecting consumers. While alternative solutions are offered in the consultation, in reality it’s odds on that the ban on using credit cards will come into force early next year.
If you believe your business will be affected by the ban, start preparing now by getting in touch with experienced gambling solicitor Richard Williams using the contact details below.
This article is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. It should not be used as a substitute for legal advice relating to your particular circumstances. Please note that the law may have changed since the date of this article.