Gamblers in the UK will not be able to use credit cards as of April after the Gambling Commission announced a major shake-up.
The ban will take effect on April 14 and comes after a lengthy period of review and public consultation undertaken by the commission between August and November last year.
The rules will apply to both online and offline gambling, but there will be exceptions for certain lotteries that are run for good causes, including the National Lottery.
The commission says that the ban is intended to add a ‘significant layer of additional protection’ to vulnerable people and those susceptible to gambling addiction.
The research performed by the Gambling Commission found that 22 percent of online gamblers using credit cards are classed as problem gamblers, and more are thought to be vulnerable.
In the UK, a total of 24 million people gamble, of which 10.5 million of those gambles online.
The chief executive of the Gambling Commission, Neil McArthur, said: “Credit card gambling can lead to significant financial harm. The ban that we have announced today should minimize the risks of harm to consumers from gambling with money they do not have.
“We also know that there are examples of consumers who have accumulated tens of thousands of pounds of debt through gambling because of credit card availability.”
“There is also evidence that the fees charged by credit cards can exacerbate the situation because the consumer can try to chase losses to a greater extent.
“We realise that this change will inconvenience those consumers who use credit cards responsibly, but we are satisfied that reducing the risk of harm to other consumers means that action must be taken.”
He continued: “We will evaluate the ban and watch closely for any unintended circumstances for consumers.
“The ban is part of our ongoing work to reduce gambling harm. We also need to continue the work we have been doing with gambling operators and the finance industry to ensure consumers only gamble with money they can afford to spend.”
Culture Minister Helen Whately said: “Whilst millions gamble responsibly, I have also met people whose lives have been turned upside down by gambling addiction.
“There is clear evidence of harm from consumers betting with money they do not have, so it is absolutely right that we act decisively to protect them.
“We will not hesitate to take any further action necessary to protect people from gambling harm.”
For more information about responsible gambling visit begambleaware.org.