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UK considers banning the use of credit cards on betting sites

UK is considering to impose a ban on the use of credit cards in online gambling

UK is considering banning the use of credit cards on betting sites as the Gambling Commission is concerned that people are bidding over their limits. In its report on making online gambling safer, the regulator expressed concern that the use of credit cards in online gambling increased the risk of consumers gambling more than they could afford.

The report said that it supports the principle that consumers should not gamble with money that they do not have and plan to conduct further work on gambling using credit in order to develop a more comprehensive understanding of associated risks. The commission plans to explore the possibility if such a move would enable gamblers to use payday loans before taking action.

The use of credit cards on gambling websites is treated as a cash advance, meaning it is subject to a transaction fee and a high rate of interest.

The report says it is “hard to envisage why consumers would choose to pay in that way, unless it was to gamble with money not otherwise available to them”.

The commission also proposes to improve the age verification process of gamblers which includes banning operators from providing free-to-play demo games until a consumer’s age has been determined, improving the speed and effectiveness of age verification processes, ensuring operators set limits on consumers’ spending until affordability checks have been conducted, and strengthening requirements to interact with consumers who may be problem gamblers.

Statistics show that industry profits have grown 10% to £4.7 billion in the last year, and public participation has increased from 15.5% in 2014 to 18.3% in 2017. It is estimated that nine million people across Britain gamble online.

Gambling Commission chief executive Neil McArthur said that Britain has the largest regulated online gambling market in the world and the commission is continually looking for ways to make it even fairer and safer for consumers. He added that the proposals are intended to protect children better, reduce the risks to vulnerable consumers and build on the measures it already imposes on operators to know their customers and intervene at an earlier stage before consumers experience harm.

Minister for Sport Tracey Crouch said that they are committed to ensuring the gambling industry is safe and sustainable. These proposals for additional regulations will strengthen the controls already in place and further safeguard children and vulnerable people from the risks of online gambling.

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