Britain bans using credit cards to gamble

Reuters
Britain's 24 million gamblers will no longer be able to use credit cards to place bets under the latest move by the government to tackle problem gambling.
Reuters

Britain’s 24 million gamblers will no longer be able to use credit cards to place bets under the latest move by the government to tackle problem gambling.

Less than a year after Britain slashed the maximum stake that can be placed on popular fixed-odds betting terminals, it said on Tuesday it would ban gamblers from using credit cards to bet online or offline to rack up debt.

According to trade body UK Finance, around 800,000 Britons use credit cards to gamble. The Gambling Commission believes a quarter of those are problem gamblers — people who are addicted to gambling to try and win back their losses.

Shares of betting companies including 888 Holdings, Flutter Entertainment and William Hill dropped in early trading, before recovering by late morning.

Culture Minister Helen Whately said there was clear evidence of harm from consumers betting with money they don’t have.

“We will not hesitate to take any further action necessary to protect people from gambling harm,” she said in a statement.

Britain’s gambling industry employs more than 100,000 people and made 14.4 billion pounds (US$18.7 billion) between 2018 and 2019.

But the government has sought to tighten rules by capping the maximum stake on terminals, bringing in tighter age and identity checks for online gambling and expanding support for addicts.

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