One approach would be to ban gambling online with credit cards. However, the public and all other stakeholders will be consulted on other options, including restricting the use of credit cards. The Commission will then take the most appropriate course of action in view of any evidence obtained by this consultation, alongside data already submitted.
The call for evidence, which the Commission launched in February, provided several key interest points around the use of credit cards to gamble online. These included:
• Alternative forms of borrowing: if action is taken on credit cards alone then consumers experiencing harm may use other forms of borrowing to fund their gambling, such as overdrafts and loans. It is therefore vital that the financial and gambling sectors work to protect customers from harm where they gamble with other forms of borrowed money.
• E-Wallets: where online gambling deposits are made through some e-wallets, operators have no means of knowing which method the payment originated from. Any future proposals would therefore require e-wallet providers to take the necessary action to support any regulatory measures introduced.
• Further evidence: the Commission wants to obtain further evidence about consumers’ motivations for using credit cards to gamble, and any specific benefits of using them. The call for evidence highlighted very little in this regard. In aiming to prevent harm from gambling with credit cards, the Commission is clear that it must take account of the impact of a ban or restrictions on gamblers who are not experiencing gambling harms.
Paul Hope, Executive Director at the Gambling Commission, said, “Gambling with borrowed money is known to be a risk factor for consumers, so we think there is a need for action. This consultation will help us decide what that action should be.”