The Gambling Commission has announced a ban on using credit cards to gamble, set to come into effect on 14 April 2020.

The ban will apply to all online and offline gambling businesses that allow customers in Great Britain to use credit cards to gamble.

Help for problem gamblers

According to the Gambling Commission, some 24 million adults in Great Britain gamble, with 10.5 million doing so online.

Separate research undertaken by the Commission has shown that 22% of online gamblers using credit cards to gamble are classed problem gamblers, with more suffering some form of gambling harm.

Neil McArthur, chief executive of the Gambling Commission, said:

“Credit card gambling can lead to significant financial harm. The ban that we have announced … 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 accumulate 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.”

Lotteries exempt

Lotteries that are used to raise money for various causes will be exempt, but will now have to provide “a significant layer of additional protection to vulnerable people.”

The commission has said that tickets for these lotteries, including the National Lottery, will be allowed to be purchased with credit cards in supermarkets and newsagents as long as they are bought alongside other products.

Still more to do

The ban comes after reviews of the industry by the commission and the government. The government is set to review the Gambling Act in the near future, which could pave the way to help those struggling with gambling addictions.

Let’s pray that the government will find the right ways to protect people from the harms of gambling – and for churches and Christians who are supporting individuals and families that have been damaged through gambling addiction.

Republished by permission of Christian Concern.

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