Government considers ban on credit card gambling in bid to tackle addiction

James Warrington
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It is thought up to 20 per cent of deposits to gambling companies are made using credit cards (Source: Getty)

The government is considering a ban on the use of credit cards for gambling as part of a wider crackdown aimed at tackling betting addiction.

The culture secretary, Jeremy Wright, has called on retail banks and bookmakers to meet to discuss the issue of people betting with money they do not have.

The statement comes ahead of a Gambling Commission review, which will be launched next month. The review will look at the risks of online and offline gambling on credit and could lead to regulation.

“Protecting people from the risks of gambling related harm is vital and all businesses with connections to gambling - be that bookmakers, social media platforms or banks - must be socially responsible,” said Wright.

“The government will not hesitate to act if businesses don’t continue to make progress in this area and do all they can to ensure vulnerable people are protected.”

It is thought up to 20 per cent of deposits to gambling companies are made using credit cards.

The review will also look at the use of self-exclusion schemes, which are designed to help people addicted to gambling reduce their betting by locking them out of their account.

Wright welcomed moves by high street banks including Barclays, Lloyds, Santander and Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), which allow customers to block spending on gambling through their mobile banking apps.

But he called on all banks and building societies to follow suit and said more must be done to ensure self-exclusion schemes are fully enforced.

“Self-exclusion schemes are essential but must be properly policed and effective to support the individual that has taken the decision to opt-out,” he said.

“Self-exclusion measures are licence conditions for all gambling operators and those who cut corners in this area must face action.”

The gambling industry has come under increased scrutiny in recent months as part of a government crackdown that could lead to regulation.

Last year the government unveiled plans the reduce the maximum stake of fixed odds betting terminals from £100 to £2. The changes will come into force in April.

Last month gambling firms agreed to a ban on betting adverts during live sports fixtures amid fears the rise in adverts is fuelling the country’s growing problem with gambling addiction.