The UK Gambling Commission is considering banning the use of credit cards to make deposits at online betting sites. The UKGC is there to protect players rather than casinos and other betting sites. We decided to look at whether the ban might come into effect, and what you should know about it.
Why consider it?
There are two areas worth nothing here:
- Credit cards mean you’re gambling on credit – that means you are using money you don’t have, money you must pay for later. This means it is very easy to get into debt quickly by depositing at one or more casinos.
- Credit cards make it easier to fund a gambling habit – gambling addiction is powerful and affects thousands of people each year. Some funding methods require you to have the cash to make the deposit. This is not the case with credit cards.
It is hoped that by banning deposits made in this way, it could help reduce the number of people affected by gambling addiction.
Which measures do our top online casinos take to prevent this?
Many reputable UK casinos already take steps to combat gambling addiction. They provide services and support for their members. They encourage them to get in touch if they feel they need help and have a problem.
- Responsible gambling – most good casinos have links to an area on this topic on their site. It contains information about support services and sometimes a quiz to take to see if you have a problem.
- Deposit limit options – some sites have maximum amounts you can deposit via any method
- Self-exclusion options – you can choose to exclude yourself from the casino for various periods. No contact is received from the casino during the selected period, and you cannot log in or use your account.
- Parental control tips – they also provide information about various ways to secure your computer and add parental controls to it. This means no one underage can use it to gamble online.
Who is ultimately responsible?
We think both parties are responsible for taking measures to support responsible gambling. There is evidence to suggest people may potentially use credit cards to rack up huge sums at online casinos if they are tempted. For example, one woman used nine credit cards to go into over £100,000 of debt in just two days.
Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright pointed to the UK Gambling Commission looking into banning credit card use at online casinos. He said the government would “take action” once the results of the exploration are known.
Meanwhile, Labour shadow deputy leader Tom Watson highlighted the case of the woman we mentioned above. He spoke of the “disgraceful conduct” of the online operators yet did not say anything about the woman herself and her use of the credit cards.
We think someone placing bets at an online gambling site must recognise they are responsible for their actions. Similarly, though, these sites must look for cases where people are making multiple deposits and betting at extreme levels over time. If we make efforts from both sides, it should be easier to reduce problem gambling.
Which card alternatives are offered by our favourite sites?
There are several credit card alternatives used at our favourite online casinos:
- E-wallet – this is a digital wallet offering you the chance to make payments online. You would usually connect it to a card payment method or a bank account.
- E-voucher – this is a voucher bought locally or online and that can be used online by entering its unique code when depositing funds
- Pay by phone – this method allows you to make a deposit and add the amount to your regular phone bill. However, you cannot withdraw using this method, so you must have another method available for that purpose.
Getting a handle on credit card gambling
We admire the UK Gambling Commission for continuing to seek ways to make it harder for people to get into trouble with online gambling. However, we also believe personal responsibility is vital. We must all know our limits and do all we can to ensure we seek help if need be.
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