Gamblers to be banned from placing bets on credit cards
Shirt deals could face axe
PUNTERS will be banned from using credit cards to place bets online and in shops.
The new rules, which come into force on April 14, will affect all types of gambling except the National Lottery.
More than a fifth of the 800,000 punters who use a credit card to place a bet have a gambling problem, according to the Gambling Commission.
It disclosed that 165,000 betting customers made £46million of credit card deposits in just one month last year – equivalent to £280 each.
The new rules, announced by the commission yesterday, are a victory for the Mail, which has campaigned for greater protection for vulnerable players and their families.
Around 24million Britons gamble, almost half of them using websites. The commission said it had seen punters fall into ‘tens of thousands’ of pounds of credit card debt, with some chasing their losses to try to pay it off.
One problem gambler, Chris Murphy, lost more than £100,000. He told the BBC: ‘There have
‘Felt I would never get free’
been times when I’ve been gambling-free for months, and then borrowed money from a payday loan site or a credit card, and woke up the next day having lost all my money and created a few thousand pounds of debt.
‘It made me feel like I would never get free.’
Players will still be able to use debit cards, cash or online payments sites such as PayPal.
MPs and campaigners welcomed the change but last night warned it would not prevent players from using overdrafts or payday loans to fund their habits. Nationalist
MP Ronnie Cowan, vice-chairman of the all-party parliamentary group on gambling, said: ‘This is welcomed but we mustn’t take our eyes off the prize, and that’s a completely new gambling Act.’
The Bishop of St Albans, Dr Alan Smith, said it was a ‘significant step in progressive policymaking’. But he added: ‘This is no more than a tweak to gambling legislation and regulation.
‘Fundamental reform is needed if we are to ever make significant progress for the hundreds of thousands affected by gamblingrelated harm.’
Culture Minister Helen Whately said: ‘While millions gamble responsibly, I have also met people whose lives have been turned upside down by gambling addiction.
‘There is evidence of harm from consumers betting with money they do not have, so it is right we act decisively to protect them.’
Neil McArthur, of the Gambling Commission, said: ‘Credit card gambling can lead to significant financial harm. The ban we have announced today should minimise the risks of harm to consumers from gambling with money they do not have.’
Debt charity the Money Advice Trust also said that although the change was a ‘welcome intervention’, more must be done.
Shares in UK-listed gambling firms – such as William Hill and GVC, which owns Ladbrokes Coral, and Flutter, which owns Paddy Power – fell yesterday.