UKGC Reveals Findings After the Credit Card Ban

The UKGC revealed this week an interim report about the successful implementation of a credit card ban for gambling purposes in the UK, which took place last year when the UKGC announced the ban.

According to the Gambling Commission, data shows that some gamblers with high levels of debt were using credit cards to gamble, and this would lead to even more problematic situations if left unchecked by the Commission. Furthermore, this interim report also points out a positive outcome from this decision as most consumers approved it at a national level.

NatCen Social Research has been commissioned to conduct a complete evaluation of the ban, which will be completed by 2024. They will assess the progress that has been made towards achieving the intended outcomes of the credit card ban, whether it was implemented as intended and the positive or negative impacts on society.

Andrew Rhodes, Interim Chief Executive of the Gambling Commission, commented: “Protecting consumers is at the heart of everything we do; we introduced this policy as part of our multifaceted work to reduce gambling harm. The successful implementation of the ban across the industry and the impact on consumer behaviour and financial spending we have monitored so far is an encouraging sign that the ban has reduced consumer reliance on gambling with borrowed money. We look forward to NatCen’s report on the long-term impacts of the ban and how this can inform our future policies.”

Some of the key findings are:

  • Consumers largely approved the ban
  • There was no increase in reports of illegal money related to gambling
  • Noticeable reduction in players using borrowed funds
  • No spikes for credit card gamblers in money transfers after the ban
  • No spikes in ATM withdrawals from credit cards around the time of the ban

Bypassing the ban

Since there are actually legal methods of bypassing the ban, the regulators were concerned that widespread adoption of these other methods would undermine the ban’s efficacy in the long run. UK players have some alternative methods to bypass the credit card ban, for example, e-Wallets and Pay By Phone option, which is very popular in the UK.

However, the study shows that far more players who previously gambled with a credit card now gamble with available (not borrowed) funds, suggesting that a ban promoted a somewhat healthy change in gambling habits.

Another significant concern was about players who were unable to change payment methods and instead opted to play at an unregulated casino using their credit cards. By doing this, players might be still able to play but won’t be as protected as they would in a casino regulated in the UK. However, this is tricky to measure since players that actively sought an unregulated casino to bypass the ban are unlikely to report such behaviour.

Although the report reveals very positive trends, it is not the full assessment yet, and perhaps more changes will come in the near future. In the meantime, if you want to know more about payment options for UK players, check our payment methods page here.