A ban on credit gambling in the United Kingdom will be investigated next month by the UK Gambling Commission. After calls for evidence in February, the regulator will now begin consulting with the gambling and financial sectors about the harms of gambling with borrowed money or credit. Credit gambling is a growing problem in countries where gambling is legalised. As a result, the UK will be one of the first nations to investigate preventative measures.
In an official statement, the regulator noted that they would focus on several key points over 12 weeks. First on the agenda will be an overview of the financial and gambling sectors, specifically alternative forms borrowing money for gambling. On this note, they will also investigate the consequences of a credit gambling ban and where gamblers could turn to in order to fund their gambling. Moreover, they will focus on loans and overdraft as possible alternatives. Many UK banks have already taken steps to block gambling on credit/debit cards by customer request.
Currently, Australia and New Zealand are looking into similar bans. A number of AU banks have already taken similar steps to help customers choose a budget for their gambling. Some even placed an outright block on any gambling-related website.
Debt Gambling through Payment Services
Another concerning factor that will be discussed is the use of eWallets in conjunction with credit gambling. Since operators can’t trace the origin of payments to eWallets, they could be funded by credited money like loans or credit cards. Of course, this is a secure way to deposit money into an account, but it could be hiding a gambling problem.
Unfortunately, the UK is facing a large influx of problem gambling and gambling-related harm. Through following casino news, a number of cases have shown that gamblers are creating debt in order to keep playing. In some cases, they have also turned to fraud when other means are exhausted. Finding ways to prevent these actions will be the main focus of the ban on credit gambling, if it passes.
Lack of Evidence about Credit Gambling
Back in February, the UKGC asked for evidence on credit gambling in order to gain ‘meaningful input’ on the issue. However, the call failed to gain ‘telling insights’. So, they will now investigate consumer motivations for gambling on credit and whether it’s beneficial. Many politicians have already condemned credit gambling and have called for a full ban. Should it go through, the outright ban will further affect the gambling industry negatively.
In the aftermath of the enforced reduced stake for Fixed-Odds betting terminals, many gambling venues are about to close. Moreover, the Remote Gaming Duty (RGD) for online operators will increase from 15% to 21% in October. All UK-licensed online gambling sites will thus be affected and could lose business. Many New Zealanders will also be affected by the RGD.
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