There's an old maxim that you should only gamble what you can afford to lose. While this is pretty sound advice, if you're playing amazing new online slots and you run out of money, access to credit could be tempting. After all, you can pay it back later, right? It's precisely this kind of thinking that can lead people into heavy gambling debt, so industry regulators have been looking into the risks of using borrowed money to gamble.
In June 2020, the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) made the decision to ban credit cards as a payment option at gambling venues in order to protect players from harmful spending. There were some concerns at the time that this measure would cause other problem gambling issues as an unintended side-effect of the ban. Concerns included whether the ban would be effective, and whether players would simply use other mechanisms, including illegal money lenders, to borrow money for gambling activities.
Was The UK Credit Card Ban A Good Thing?
The UKGC has been monitoring the impact of the credit card ban and released its interim findings yesterday (2 November 2021). According to the report, there were several positive indicators. Players have found that the ban did actually them to control their gambling spend. There has been no increase in players using other forms of borrowed money, and there was no spike in money transfers or ATM withdrawals from credit cards in the three months after the ban.
“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," said Andrew Rhodes, Interim Chief Executive of the UKGC.
Are Credit Cards Banned In Irish Casinos?
In August this year, Irish bookies agreed to ban the use of credit cards for placing bets, and to avoid gambling advertising during live events. However, this is not enough, according to Sinn Féin TD Thomas Gould.
“The problem with optional bans is that they can be withdrawn as easily as they can be introduced,” he explained as he introduced his Betting (Prohibition on Use of Credit Cards) Bill, which aims to ban the use of credit cards for any gambling activities across the country. If the bill is activated, licensed gambling operators will need to remove credit cards as a payment option or face penalties.
“We need to make sure that those in the throes of addiction aren’t gambling with money they don’t have and can’t afford,” said Gould.