Pressure continues to mount on the UKGC ( The regulator of gambling in the UK ) to add further legislation to tighten up on responsible gambling for UK players. The latest in a long list of possible changes is the idea of banning the use of credit cards for online players, and due to the emphasis being on players gambling with credit, the use of E-wallets when playing at an online casino have also come under scrutiny.
5% of gambling deposits (by value) are made with a credit card directly with the gambling operator
81% are made via debit card directly with the operator
Between the months of February and May 2019 the Gambling Commission conducted a call for evidence, and in total they received 110 responses from various sources such as debt relief charities, financial services, members of the public, and gambling operators. The questions that were being asked from the commission were as follows.
Do you have any comments on the risks and concerns associated with gambling with credit cards?
Do you have any comments whether, on balance and given those concerns, the Commission should consider prohibiting or restricting credit cards for gambling?
Do you have any comments on the potential pitfalls of prohibiting or restricting the use of credit cards for gambling?
Do you have evidence or suggestions for any measures that could act as alternatives to a prohibition on credit card use for gambling, and which could provide more effective protection to consumers who are at risk of harm due to gambling with money they cannot afford?
E-WALLETS MAY BE MADE UNAVAILABLE FOR UK PLAYERS AT ONLINE CASINOS
Whilst there was an overwhelming view that credit cards should no longer be used for online gambling, it became apparent that there was concern for what may result in just the credit card alone being banned. The main issue was that players could simply upload cash to an E-wallet or crypto currency from their credit card, and continue to gamble online through credit.
Online Casinos are unaware of the original source of cash where certain E-wallets are used, and this raised concern for many of those asked, and indeed the UKGC themselves. There would seem little point in banning one form of playing by credit, if it were to just push players to another form and maybe more troublesome source, such as payday loans.
The UKGC have now considered all responses, as well as data received, and have entered a consulting period. They have stated that they are considering two options, either to restrict the use of credit cards for all forms of remote gambling, or to ban them completely. Admittedly the Gambling Commission concede that there are many factors to consider if the change of legislation does indeed take place, and this would be vital to ensure there are no loopholes that could be exploited.
With so much to deliberate over, the commission state that any changes made to the LCCP ( Licence Conditions & Code of Practice ) will come into play during April 2020. To view the full strategy from the UKGC you can click here to read it.
PERSONAL VIEWS ON THE POTENTIAL BANNING OF CREDIT CARDS AND E-WALLETS FOR ONLINE CASINO USE
Through all my time of playing online I have never deposited through a credit card, and it would never be something that I would have advised any player to do in the past, or the present. When we choose to gamble, whether that be online or at a land based establishment, we should remember the importance to only play with what we can afford to lose, and view this as entertainment time, not a way to earn additional income.
Banning credit cards for use at online casinos is something that should have been implemented a long time ago, the possibility of running up £1000s of debt was, and is very real. With the ease in the modern day of being able to get accepted for a credit card, the temptation for those who have a problem with gambling is far too easy to succumb to.
As previously mentioned online casinos are not able to see where the funds that have been uploaded to an E-wallet have come from, so the banning of them would also be necessary. This again prevents any temptation for problem gamblers to upload funds to an E-wallet from their credit card and potentially rack up a huge debt. From a players point of view this wouldn't really impact their experience too much, casino operators rarely offer a bonus ( Welcome bonus or Deposit bonus ) to those who upload funds through an E-wallet. The only downside for those who are habitual users of an E-wallet when playing would be the near instant withdrawal times that casinos offer through this method.
Along with the recent article I wrote about the possible £2 maximum stake for online slots, this is a piece of legislation that if it goes through needs to be 100% on the mark from the UKGC. Without a doubt gambling on credit needs to be eliminated from the industry, but with the ever growing regulations attached to the UK market there is always the risk that players, and especially those most at risk, will be drawn to an unlicensed casino, where a whole wealth of problems will await them.