In February 2019 the UK Gambling Commission will begin an investigation into the use of credit cards for online gambling in the UK that could lead to a ban that would affect billions of pounds spent in online bookmakers and casinos every year.
It is thought that as much as 20% of deposits made by gamblers online is through credit cards, leading to a greater risk of unmanageable debts.
The culture secretary, Jeremy Wright, has announced that meetings will take place with major bookmakers and banks to discuss the use of credit cards, and that the UK Gambling Commission will start collecting evidence in February, possibly with a view to introducing regulation in the future.
Already some banks have stopped customers from making deposits to gambling accounts through mobile apps and Jeremy Wright has said:
“We should also ask if it is right that people should be able to gamble on credit and this is an area that the Gambling Commission are going to look into.”
The Labour party has already said that they would ban credit card gambling in the UK if they got into power.
This latest move to exert more control over online gambling in the UK follows legislation to curb betting on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) that saw the maximum stake reduced from £100 to £2.
The new limits will come in from April 2019.
The industry’s problem gambling self-exclusion scheme, Gamstop, has also recently come under scrutiny after an investigation by The Guardian newspaper in the UK found that users who had self-excluded could simply register again with a different surname but the same address, mobile number and email of the excluded account.
The Culture Secretary said: “Self-exclusion schemes are essential but must be properly policed and effective to support the individual that has taken the decision to opt-out,” Wright said. “Self-exclusion measures are licence conditions for all gambling operators and those who cut corners in this area must face action.”