The UK Gambling Commission revealed at the beginning of 2020 the new regulation that would ban the use of credit cards in the gambling industry. This prohibition that came into effect on 14 April 2020 may also affect the popular e-Wallets like PayPal and Skrill. According to the UKGC, several online gamblers who play at slots that take credit cards as payment options are at risk of problem gambling or even problem gamblers.
Thus, to make stronger protection of these players, this powerful regulatory authority has to implement this new statute that will be applied for both online and land-based betting companies. However, forbidding these methods will certainly have negative impacts on the concerned companies and some users. Here are the positive and negative effects of this credit card ban.
The Main Benefits
- Protection of the gamblers’ interest at all costs. With the slogan ‘to make gambling fairer and safer’, the UKGC has to protect the interest of the players by hook or by crook. After completing a survey, this commission learnt that of 24 million UK-based gamblers, 10.5 million of them bet online and 800,000 usually use credit cards as options to gamble. According to this study, 22% of these online gamblers who use credit cards are classified as compulsive gamblers. This considerable number of deals is very parlous as stated by this regulatory entity. Implementing new measures to protect these vulnerable players is, therefore, paramount. By imposing these new rules to forbid the credit card in the UK gambling operators, these defenseless gamblers won’t be able to wager with these methods anymore.
- Prevention of the vulnerable gamblers from accumulating huge debts. Another advantage of this prohibition is to avoid these unsuspecting gamblers to cumulate enormous debts towards card providers or banks. As reported by Neil McArthur, UKGC chief executive, credit card betting can result in considerable financial harm. He gave the examples of some gamblers who have accrued a debt of tens of thousands of pounds via credit card gambling. This means that the credit cards option is the origin of borrowing money spent on betting. Moreover, according to the “The Guardian” newspaper, it is also the case of PayPal which allowed the oblivious gamblers to deposit more than 176 000€ in just one day. Despite the restrictions and warnings implemented by the banks, this unconscious act happened in February 2019. The forbidding of credit cards and e-wallets like Skrill and PayPal will surely minimize the number of gamblers getting into debt through gambling.
The Main Drawbacks
- The decline and fall of the concerned companies. Although this new rule will reduce problems from gambling, it will have a meaningful impact on the iGaming market. Undoubtedly, this decision to interdict credit cards for betting can result in other issues in the gambling industry there. Since the number of people who use the companies’ products will decrease, it can drag down their businesses’ revenues. This can lead to the loss of significant amounts of money and can lead to the migration of companies. These gambling firms can move to other countries with flexible gambling legislation such as Macau, France, Malta, and many others. In these nations, they are able to manage their businesses with less strict regulations.
- It may affect the government’s wallet. Credit card interdiction in the UK will also decrease the tax discount in the United Kingdom. As the gambling industry has contributed to the economy there, the decline of some betting firms will affect the financial systems of this territory. Unlike other countries, gambling is tax-free in this sovereign state in which the players don’t pay taxes. Nevertheless, it is not the case of the operators who have to deal with gambling taxes. This new measure to forbid credit cards will, thereby, have a significant impact on government revenue.
The measure to prohibit the use of credit cards in the UK gambling field was suggested by charity organizations like GambleAware and Citizens Advice two years ago. The main goal of the ban is to promote responsible gambling as stated by UKGC. The players will be able to gamble only on the money they have and not to succumb to borrowing money.
This system will work on protecting the gamblers from excess betting and will make the future of UK gambling brighter. Nonetheless, this bill won’t touch the National Lottery, the non-remote society lotteries, and scratchcards.