In April 2020, the United Kingdom Gambling Commissioned banned the use of credit cards for UK gamblers. An interim report suggests the move has been successful and had the desired effect as those who previously gambled using credit cards are now only using available funds, rather than borrowed funds.
The report suggests consumers who were once up in arms over the banning of credit cards have welcomed the changes and have not resulted in harmful, unintended consequences according to the UKGC. The ban was implemented to prevent customers from gambling with funds ‘borrowed’ and could ill afford, forcing them further into debt by encouraging further gambling to recoup back losses. So far, the feedback from gamblers has been ‘largely positive’, with many saying the ban helps people bet within their means, allowing more control over their gambling. Interim Chief Executive of the UKGC Andrew Rhodes said, “The successful implementation of the ban across the industry and the impact on consumer behaviour and financial spend we have monitored so far is an encouraging sign that the ban has reduced consumer reliance on gambling with borrowed money.”
Results Remain Stable
Although banning credit cards will not deter a small minority from illegally bypassing the ban, so far indications show this has remained stable with no increase in illegal money lending. Many customers who previously relied on the use of a credit card to gamble are now in control of their finances and not using borrowed funds. Further monitoring systems were implemented after the credit card ban including analysing bank data and credit card withdrawals from ATMs but again, they observed no spike in withdrawals or money transfers. The UK regulator will continue to monitor the data and activity provided by NatCen Social Research, to ensure no increase in harmful gambling activities occurs. The completion of the evaluation is due to end in early 2023.