UKGC maintains confidence in gambling credit card ban as new report released

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has stated that consumers are supportive of its decision to prohibit the use of credit cards for gambling payments, following the results of a recent report.

In an update published today, the UKGC explained that its report found that consumers held a ‘largely positive’ view of the ban – first implemented in April last year – with many believing that it ‘helps people to gamble within their means and retain control’. 

Additionally, the regulator has stated that there have been no harmful consequences as a result of the ban, with no spike in ATM withdrawals occurring during or after its introduction.

The Commission has supported this assertion with banking data that has demonstrated ‘no observed spike’ for credit card gamblers in money transfers in the three months after the ban and no increase in reports of illegal money lending in relation to gambling.

Findings from a ‘major high street bank’ were also referenced, with the financial institution experiencing a ‘very low level’ of gambling transactions with credit cards to the gambling merchant code, whilst ‘continually low-level expenditure to businesses with gambling merchant’ codes were attributed to products ‘outside the scope of the ban’ such as lotteries and competitions.

Additionally, although the UKGC found that customers ‘are aware of ways to legally bypass the ban’, a significant number of people who previously used credit cards to gamble now use available funds other than borrowed money, whilst the proportion of consumers reporting gambling with other forms of borrowed money ‘has remained stable’.

“Protecting consumers is at the heart of everything we do, we introduced this policy as part of our multifaceted work to reduce gambling harm,” remarked Andrew Rhodes, Interim Chief Executive of the UKGC.

The report was informed by the UKGC’s Online Tracker quarterly survey of around 2,000 adults over 18 in Great Britain and 2CB’s Consumer Voice Research, which involved an eight day online programme with 30 participants.

Moving forward, the Commission has enlisted NatCen Social Research to conduct an evaluation of the ban, scheduled for completion in early 2023, with the findings used in combination with the regulator’s own monitoring operations to inform future policy development.

Rhodes continued “The successful implementation of the ban across the industry and the impact on consumer behaviour and financial spend we have monitored so far is an encouraging sign that the ban has reduced consumer reliance on gambling with borrowed money. We look forward to NatCen’s report on the long-term impacts of the ban and how this can inform our future policies.”

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