Gambling Commission considers banning credit card use

  • Updated
  • By Amy McDonnell
Gambling Commission may ban credit cards

The UK Gambling Commission has announced plans to hold a 12-week consultation which could result in an industry-wide ban on using credit cards at online gambling sites.

The UKGC aims to understand the impact that potential restrictions or an outright ban would have on the gambling industry. The announcement follows a call for evidence launched by the Commission in February which highlighted several key issues. 

The Commission is concerned that a ban could encourage players to seek alternative borrowing methods, such as overdrafts and loans. 

Operators would also struggle to identify the original payment method used when players deposit via eWallets such as PayPal or Neteller as the financial information is encrypted. 

The Commission also wants to obtain further evidence about why players use credit cards to gamble and if they benefit gamblers without the experience of 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.”

Why is gambling with your credit card bad?

Using your credit card to deposit and play at online casinos and bingo sites can negatively impact your financial health in a few different ways. 

Credit score

Your credit score is an assessment of your ability to pay back a loan. While your gambling transactions won’t directly appear on your credit report, if you’re unable to pay your credit card bill, it may affect your credit score.

Interest charges

Many top banks charge customers for gambling transactions made with credit cards. The cost is the same as withdrawing cash at an ATM, meaning you may incur higher rates of interest and potentially be charged a handling fee. 

Mortgage applications

When you apply for a mortgage, lenders will request copies of your bank statements and your credit score. No rule states mortgage lenders must decline those with a history of gambling. However, gambling transactions may deter some lenders from approving your application if they think you will struggle to keep up with monthly payments.

Can my bank stop me from gambling?

Barclays was the first major bank to allow customers to block gambling transactions, and many others, including Lloyds, Santander and RBS have followed in its footsteps.

It’s certainly a step in the right direction, however, the responsibility to enable the block still falls on the player rather than the bank.

Banks may even close your account if its primarily used for gambling purposes as it may breach terms and conditions.