The regulator of UK’s gambling industry says the credit card ban which has now come into force (14th April) will add another vital layer of protection for consumers.

In January, the Gambling Commission and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) announced the widely-publicised ban – meaning that from today any consumer gambling will not be able to use a credit card as payment. The ban extends to credit card gambling through e-wallets.

The Commission said it is an important step forward in protecting the 10.5 million people who gamble online from harm – with statistics showing that 800,000 individuals in the UK use credit cards to gamble. Research also highlights that 22% of online gamblers using credit cards are problem gamblers, with even more suffering some form of gambling harm.

Neil McArthur, Gambling Commission Chief Executive, said: “This credit card ban will further protect consumers from financial harm and from today, nobody in Great Britain can use a credit card to gamble. It is a ban which ultimately reduces the risks of harm to consumers from gambling with money they do not have. ”

“The ban also comes at a vital time as we are seeing an increase in the use of some online products, such as online slots and virtual sports, and our online search analysis shows an increase in UK consumer interest in gambling products since the lockdown began. This highlights just how important it is for gambling operators to keep people safe and the credit card ban will help that.”

“This is another milestone and we will continue to look for ways to make gambling safer.”

The Commission also reminded operators that they can only accept customer payments via e-wallets if those e-wallets prevent credit card use for gambling.

Adam Hancox, Head of Gaming for TransUnion in the UK said “Banning the use of credit cards in gambling is seen as a positive step in minimisng the risks of harm to consumers who are potentially gambling with more money than they can afford. It’s a testament to the industry’s commitment to protecting those that are most vulnerable from gambling harm that these measures are being implemented.  Whilst some may simply be using credit cards for convenience, the risks for harm are significant. Research from the Gambling Commission shows that more than one in five online gamblers using credit cards are problem gamblers, and this new regulation is aligned with what has already been an industry-wide move to step up controls.”

“It’s essential that gaming companies use all the tools available to help them ensure that customers are gambling responsibly; ranging from using the relevant identity and verification checks to cutting-edge analytics that can provide an assessment of the individual’s financial standing. We already work with many of the UK’s leading operators across the gaming sector and have seen continuing demand for solutions to boost consumer protection.”

“This particular ban will help minimise some risk for consumers and operators, although the industry will recognise that risks will evolve and change over time. In the current climate of uncertainty, with our own research showing that three out of five (59%) UK households are already being negatively financially impacted by COVID-19, it’s more important than ever that consumers aren’t stretching beyond their means, highlighting that the implementation of this ban comes at a pivotal moment.”