Gambling Credit Card Ban – Proposal To Restrict Credit Card Usage For Betting
More and more policies enacted by both the government and gaming companies themselves appear to be based around the idea of helping people control the amount of debt that they get themselves into when gambling.
There has been criticism of the usefulness of self-exclusion schemes recently, for example, whilst high street banks have also started to give people the option within their mobile apps to switch off their ability to spend money on gambling.
There has also been a case recently in which Ladbrokes were criticised for paying the victims of a gambling addict around £1 million in compensation rather than banning him from placing bets with them.
In short, those that are in charge of gambling companies know that if they don’t do more to stop people from betting themselves into financial difficulty then the likelihood is that the government will start to legislate on the matter and take the choice away from them. That appears to be where things are now at regarding betting using credit cards, with the Culture Secretary, Jeremy Wright, saying he’d consider doing just that.
Ban Something Labour Are Already In Favour Of
There are few things in the world of politics that see genuine cross-party support; something that has become even more relevant in the era of Brexit. Yet the idea of doing more to help those that have a problem with gambling is something that members on both sides of the aisle are in favour of.
In the wake of the government’s decision to delay the implementation of the new maximum stake on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals, for example, the Sports Minister Tracey Crouch resigned her post and received support from people as diverse as the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party.
The feeling of surprise regarding the Tories and Labour being in sync over the issue of using credit cards to gamble should therefore not be overly surprising. Indeed, Tom Watson confirmed in September 2018 that Labour would, should they win the next General Election, ban the use of credit cards when placing bets.
It came on the back of a report by the Gambling Commission that said that between 10 and 20% of bets placed are done using a credit card, which amounts to up to £8.6 billion of the £43 billion gambled annually.
The Gambling Commission itself confirmed early in 2018 that they were considering a ban on the use of credit cards for betting, which is an idea that is also backed by the charity GambleAware.
GC To Look Further Into Credit Card Ban
Anti-gambling campaigners have long called for a ban on the use of credit cards when placing bets, believing that it increases the risk of using more money than you can actually afford.
It’s that increased risk of getting into debt that it is hard to escape from that has made the Gambling Commission confirm that it will look for more evidence on the matter in 2019 before potentially adding regulation to the licenses that it issues.
Speaking on behalf of the Gambling Commission, a spokesperson pointed to the organisation’s review of online gambling in 2018 as proof that it’s a subject that they’re taking seriously.
Jeremy Wright, who took over at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport when Tracey Crouch resigned, suggested that it was part of the responsibility of gambling companies to look after the best interests of their clients. He said that the licenses issued would be ‘at risk’ if they didn’t.
More Needs To Be Done To Help The Most Vulnerable
There have been numerous attempts to help those with gambling problems in recent times, but it is widely accepted that more needs to be done. With the number of problem gamblers in the United Kingdom rising to more than 400,000 in 2017, the result is that just shy of 1% of adults can be classified as having a problem with gambling.
Even the industry’s own scheme to help problem gamblers, GamStop, has been beset by issues since it was announced, including a recent report by the BBC that suggested users could get around its self-exclusion methods reasonably easily.
GamStop responded to the BBC’s claims and said that the flaws in its system were being addressed and that the Gambling Commission was considering introducing tougher ID checks for gambling companies to stop such things happening in the future.
It comes as the government announced that it will open more gambling clinics to help those most in need, with just 1 open at the time of writing.
Why Is Gambling With Credit Cards Bad?
The simply reality of gambling is that you can lose your bets. If you are betting with money that you can afford to lose then that is fine, but if you’re extending yourself by using a credit card then you can easily find yourself in a situation where you’ve lost your bet and therefore the money, with no clear way to make it back.
The temptation to use more credit to try to win back that money can be overwhelming for some, throwing good money after bad and finding themselves in a spiraling situation with unmanageable debt.
There is also the fact that it is treated as a cash transaction by the credit card company, meaning that you’ll have fees to pay in addition to the withdrawn money. That means that even winning bets will return less than you were expecting once you’ve paid off those fees.
If your credit card doesn’t allow for interest free cash payments then you can end up losing even more money than just a bet that doesn’t win, paying interest on the money you’ve gambled with at the same time as losing the money itself.
Should The Government Be Legislating On This?
It’s entirely fair for punters to ask the question about whether or not it is right for the government to be legislating on the matter of using a credit card for betting. After all, there’s nothing to stop you walking into a clothes shop and spending a huge amount of money even if you can’t pay it back, so why is it any different for gambling?
To use a more controversial topic, you could enter a spirit and wine shop and buy a bottle of wine for £1,000 without the ability to pay that money back as long as you can buy it in the first place.
The difference, though, is that a gambling loss is more likely to be followed up with another bet as the loser attempts to win their money back. Someone that has trouble with controlling their gambling isn’t able to stop as easily as someone buying clothes, say.
The comparison, perhaps, is if you bought a £1,000 bottle of wine, dropped it leaving the shop and then went back inside to buy another straight away. Should the amount of money that you have available to you make a difference in that scenario?
The idea of limiting the use of credit cards for betting is designed to stop people from getting themselves into spiralling debt, largely because those with a gambling problem can’t stop themselves.