The government of the United Kingdom is considering banning the use of credit cards by gamblers to place bets, a move that if implemented will affect bets worth billions every year. This statement was issued as part of a warning to the Culture Secretary which called for the betting companies and banks to take appropriate action to protect the vulnerable. As it turns, these credit cards are used to wager up to £8.6 billion every year – this is equivalent to about 20 percent of all gambling revenue – and gaming watchdogs and ministers in the country are concerned that these cards allow gambling addicts of problem gamblers to bet more money than they can afford to lose.
As part of the steps being taken to deal with the issue, Jeremy Wright, the Culture Minister said that he would overhaul major retail banks into meetings so as to discuss these concerns. The minister further welcomed moves by high-street banks including, Santander, the Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds and Barclays to allow their customers to turn off spending on gambling through their mobile applications.
Already the United Kingdom Gambling Commission has plans to launch a call for evidence on this matter next month after which appropriate regulation may follow. This also happens to be part of a broader crackdown that seeks to address, among other issues, the slow progress on self-exclusion schemes that are designed to help gambling addicts to recover.
Last year, the Gambling Commission revealed that it was weighing up the merits of a ban, a proposal that has even been backed by GambleAware, the United kingdom’s leading problem gambling charity. This followed a study that revealed that there are 430,000 or more problem gamblers living in the United Kingdom – in addition to that, there are close to two million more gamblers that are at risk of developing the same problems.
Flaws Found in Self-exclusion Scheme
Meanwhile, GamStop, the UK gaming industry’s own self-exclusion scheme which was due to launch in late 2017 is facing even more obstacles amid concerns that people who use it may still be sent pro-gambling promotional material. According to the head of the scheme, the stakeholders of the scheme are deeply concerned because people can, somehow, cheat the system.
Since April 2018 when the scheme was launched, over 50,000 people have signed up to the scheme which allows them to ban themselves from gambling. Unfortunately, some users were still able to place bets online by simply changing their user details. Clearly, the self-exclusion service is not working well enough but the Gambling Commission has assured the public that it plans to introduce even more stringent ID checks in the near future.
The country’s government also said it would be opening specialist NHS gambling clinics around the country and so far only one such facility is operational.