GC publishes evidence on British credit card gambling ban

The Gambling Commission has published the evidence behind its credit card ban.
The Gambling Commission has published the evidence behind its credit card ban.

The Gambling Commission has published the full details of its consultation and evidence behind its decision to ban credit card transactions in gambling a year ago.

UK.- More than a year after the British Gambling Commission banned the use of credit cards for gambling the regulator has published its full consultation and disclosure of the evidence behind its decision.

The regulator said it had taken the decision to introduce the prohibition under the objectives of its Business Strategy 2018-2021, which were to protect the interests of consumers, raise industry standards and further improve UK gambling regulation.

It has now published an executive overview providing all of the information and opinions it took into account when making the decision to introduce the ban.

It had launched two separate consultations on the matter in 2019, one on an “outright ban on credit cards”, and one on “restricting the use of credit services”.

Together, they received 128 written responses, including responses from consumer bodies (21), financial institutions (8) charities (7) and local government (4).

The majority of responses came from individual problem gambling service users, which were submitted via two safer gambling bodies, Gamcare and the Gordon Moody Association, which coordinated and delivered 71 and 15 responses respectively.

Licensed operators and gambling industry trade bodies submitted 19 written responses.

The majority of respondents to the consultation agreed that financial service providers should do more to help reduce the risk of customers suffering financial harm from gambling.

Suggestions were made that included licensed operators adopting collaborative frameworks with financial service providers to improve customer monitoring, affordability assessment and direct interventions.

Data on credit card use among problem gamblers

Data gathered during the consultation suggested that “credit cards are disproportionately used for gambling by individuals who are experiencing harm,” the regulator said.

The Gambling Commission was also presented with evidence on 475 credit card gamblers from research agency 2CV, which showed that credit card gambling was disproportionately associated with a higher risk of harm.

A tracker survey indicated that “22 per cent of credit card gamblers were problem gamblers, 25 per cent were experiencing moderate levels of harm and 20 per cent lower levels of harm”.

The regulator said that some operators and financial services companies had challenged the credit card ban but their responses failed to address the causes of harms that could be deepened by the financial hardships provoked by borrowing money to gamble.

It said that considering the evidence submitted, it had introduced the ban on credit card transactions to reduce the risks of harm by preventing consumers from gambling more than they could afford to repay or to at least “add levels of friction to the process of gambling with borrowed money”.

In this article:
Gambling Commission gambling regulation