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Jury out as analysts react to credit card gambling ban

By Tim Poole

Analysts of the gambling industry have provided mixed reactions to the Gambling Commission’s confirmation it will ban credit card gambling in Great Britain from 14 April.

While many see the outlawing of gambling with credit as a fair measure, some critics feel the Gambling Commission has not gone far enough with its new policy.

However, other commentators believe the new regulation has either been devised for the wrong reasons or fails to address the areas it is intended to.

Gambling consultant Steve Donoughue, an ardent defender of the industry and critic of political interference within the sector, believes this policy is merely another step towards curtailing gambling in Great Britain completely.

He told Gambling Insider: "So starts the death by a thousand cuts as this industry is slowly suffocated. In itself, no one really gives a monkeys about the banning of credit cards. It’s a small proportion of payments and, yes, those gambling on credit could well have a problem.

"A more enlightened and less political regulator could have just asked that those using it should be closely monitored for other markers of harm. But how would that get you the plaudits of the Daily Mail and the potential of a better job in another government department?

"It’s another success on the list that will see football shirt sponsorship banned, limits for online slots, complete bans on TV advertising and all children being taught that if they say the word gambling three times, their Instagram likes will disappear."

Meanwhile, Rachel Swann, Commercial Director of 3Radical, believes operators can overcome the ban with a responsible, long-term approach to looking after their players.

She said: "It remains to be seen whether the credit card ban actually changes behaviour or discourages problem gambling.

"Operators that really look after their players responsibly will not only overcome the proposed ban on credit cards, but will build longer-lasting and mutually profitable player-operator relations, continuing to bring legitimate entertainment to their players."

From a payments perspective, Jens Bader, Co-Founder of online gaming payments company MuchBetter, believes banning credit card gambling may not have the desired effect due to the availability of alternative options.

According to Bader, "glaring loopholes" ensure those looking to gamble excessively will still find ways to do so.

He said: "There are so many payment options available to players, banning credit cards may not have the desired effect and protect the people it is designed to protect. 

"Such is the nature of gambling addiction, a ban like this has some glaring loopholes. Anyone with a serious gambling problem, willing to fund gaming accounts with a credit card in the first place, are also going to be willing to use their credit card in conjunction with other permitted payment options to get around the ban.

"Players can just as easily fund a prepaid debit card with their credit card and use their debit card for gaming. The Government is attempting to close the gate long after the horse has bolted."

You can find the Gambling Insider editorial team's views on the credit card gambling ban here.


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