The Gambling Commission launches consultation on gambling with credit cards

Following a recent call for evidence on the issue of online gambling with credit cards, the Gambling Commission has launched a 12 week consultation.

Following a recent call for evidence on the issue of online gambling with credit cards, the Gambling Commission has launched a 12 week consultation which concludes on 6 November 2019.

This follows advice from the Responsible Gambling Strategy Board on online gambling in 2018 and the Commission’s call for evidence between February and March 2019. It is estimated by online operators that 10-20 percent of all online deposits are made using a credit card.

There have been calls to ban all remote gambling (betting, gaming and lotteries) with credit cards although the possibility of putting preventative measures in place is also being considered. It will be considered whether this should be extended to the use of credit cards for non-remote gambling.

The Commission is keen to explore consumers’ motivation for using credit cards to fund their gambling and if there are any specific benefits of doing so. The Commission is mindful of the impact that taking action on credit cards alone would have across the financial sector, as this may result in consumers using other means of borrowing to fund their gambling, such as overdrafts or loans.

In the event that online gambling deposits are made through an e-wallet, online operators have no way to determine the source of the payment and whether it originated from a credit card or not. All future proposals would require e-wallet providers to take the necessary action to support any regulatory measures which are introduced.

In addition, consideration needs to be given to the impact of a prohibition or restriction on consumers who are not experiencing gambling harm and may be disadvantaged as a result of any changes. This is one of the reasons why the general public and all other stakeholders are being consulted on all options and proposals considered.

The consultation seeks to explore a range of other related issues, such as improved age restrictions on online gambling websites, improved customer identification to establish if consumers are gambling outside of their means and a crackdown on unfair terms & conditions.

The Commission intends to take the most appropriate course of action in light of the evidence obtained and any prohibition or restrictions would be achieved by amendments to the Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice commencing in April 2020.

The outcome of the consultation is likely to be early next year but, with the ever-increasing profits in the gambling industry and the percentage of consumers opting to gamble online, there is likely to be further regulations aimed at promoting responsible gambling and preventing gamblers falling into debt.

Further information

If you have any questions or would like to discuss any aspect of this article, please contact Victoria Robertson, Partner at Victoria.Robertson@weightmans.com or 0113 213 4107.

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