The day the UK-facing gambling industry has long feared has finally arrived. Starting April 14, the use of credit cards for almost all gambling transactions will be banned by order of the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC). To say that this will have a major impact on UK gambling operators is something of an understatement.

The ban applies to all land-based and online gambling operators and has only a small exception for lottery tickets. Players may continue to purchase lottery tickets with a credit card, provided that they are buying other items such as groceries at the same time. This exception was carved out because of the “disproportionate burden” it would cause on retailers. (That same sort of sympathy was never shown to betting shop operators, but here we are.)

In a statement reported on by the BBC, Neil McArthur, Gambling Commission chief executive lauded the new rules saying, “Credit card gambling can lead to significant financial harm. The ban that we have announced today should minimise the risks of harm to consumers from gambling with money they do not have.

“We also know that there are examples of consumers who have accumulated tens of thousands of pounds of debt through gambling because of credit card availability.

“There is also evidence that the fees charged by credit cards can exacerbate the situation because the consumer can try to chase losses to a greater extent.”

The new rules also require that operators provide access to GamStop, a self-exclusion product designed to prevent problem gambling. That part of the bill was welcomed by the gaming industry funded group, the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC).

Shares in UK gambling operators dipped slightly when the news was announced, but bounced back at the end of the day.


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