Jeremy Wright Mulls Credit Card Ban for Gambling Use

  • Jeremy Wright will talk with bookmakers and retail banks and discuss banning credit cards for gambling purposes
  • The UKGC will launch their own investigation to seek evidence about a link between gambling harm and the use of credit cards
  • The country focuses on even broader self-exclusion practices

The United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC) will call for a review of a proposed measure seeking to limit the use of credit cards in gambling and betting establishments, including poker & bingo rooms and lotteries.

UKGC and Jeremy Wright Look into Credit Card Use

An important new development in the UK gambling climate has transpired. The culture secretary, Jeremy Wright, said that he was now looking into the possibility of restricting gaming-related payments made via credit cards.

Commenting on the initiative, Mr. Wright said that he would hold various meetings with bookmaker and retail banking representatives. If the measure is seen through, this would affect billions of pounds transacted as wagers every year.

Mr. Wright’s primary concern has been the growing use of credit cards in settling gaming-related transactions. According to the data presented by him and cited by the Guardian, 20% of all transactions related to gambling have been settled with the use of credit card.

The issue with this specific method of payment lies in the fact that many consumers could be tempted to play with money that they don’t actually have. As a result, the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has said that it would follow up on Mr. Wright’s initiative and seek evidence about the correlation between gambling harm and the use of credit harm.

The move is expected in February. A UKGC spokesperson has commented, explaining that the watchdog has been considering similar measures in the past:

In our online review last year we said we will consider prohibiting or restricting the use of credit cards and will explore the consequences of doing so.

Now that Mr. Wright is also pushing for a change, it seems only appropriate to have the UKGC look into the matter as well. Mr. Wright’s own commitment to creating a gaming industry that focuses on the consumer well-being has been quite marked.

Banks in the UK Step Up Gambling Protection Efforts

He remains one of the staunches supporters of the FOBTs reduction plan and has spearheaded the timelier changes to the maximum bets applicable to the terminals, with the stake now awaiting reduction to £2 from £100 in April.

Mr. Wright has expressed his gratitude to retail banks which agreed to allow their customers to self-exclude from certain industries, including gambling. Some of the banking bodies to have pushed ahead with the move include Barclays, Lloyds, Santander and the Royal Bank of Scotland.

Self-exclusion schemes have been also another important part of the United Kingdom’s effort to limit harmful gambling practices. One of the most popular self-exclusion schemes in the country, GamStop has been recently cited by the BBC as “flawed”, with the popular media outlet finding people who have successfully gamed the system by changing their legal names or e-mail addresses.

Kat Orlov

Newcomer Kat is our newcomer poker aficionado whos skill not only lives on the table but flourishes on the site as through her many sources she never fails to be the first to hear of any important or exciting poker news around the world.

Sky’s CEO Stephen van Rooyen Says TV Ads Ban Not Enough

Sky is increasingly shaping itself up as a champion of consumer protection and anti-gambling harm champion. The company’s CEO, Stephen van Rooyen, has now said that the whistle-to-whistle ban will need to be backed by serious action from industry experts to succeed in achieving its intended goal.

Sky’s Charm Offensive

New measures are being implemented every day to help curb the number of problem gamblers on the territory on the United Kingdom, and while some remain sceptical about the effects of the proposed changes in the advertisement policy, Sky CEO Stephen van Rooyen seems determined to seek a final solution, beyond what he thinks is an ill-considered palliative.

According to Mr. van Rooyen, a whistle-to-whistle ban would not be sufficient in itself to brush up on consumer protection stands. Rather, operators will re-focus their efforts online where they can reach out to even greater audiences.

Mr. van Rooyen is de facto one of the sceptics who perceives this move as an exercise in futility. Even though the Remote Gambling Association (RGA) and its members have been championing the measure as a proof of an improving industry, the Sky’s top man is not convinced.

TV advertisement is a dying sector with bookmakers and iGaming companies scurrying off online where they can take refuge while the industry’s coming to a slow halt. According to Regulus Partners, TV advertisement accounts for only 15% of all gambling-related ads. In other words, the industry’s leaders have adapted quickly.

It’s true that limiting ads during air time would have its effects. People would be less likely to tempt themselves into placing a wager and of course – business will lose revenue, but ultimately – the levels of betting will bounce back if not strengthened by reaching new customers, courtesy of well-spread online advertisement.

If the RGA and gambling companies are serious about protecting vulnerable gamblers, then they should start by looking at where they spend the most money, what has the least level of regulation and where there is most evidence of harm: the online world. – Sky CEO Stephen van Rooyen

Mr. van Rooyen was specific in the course of action that should be pursued moving forward, explaining that instead of addressing a sector that is clearly not the main focus of the industry any more was belated and probably not really necessary.

He also explained that the focus must shift online and the government must seek to ensure that all activities are levied with the proper tax, and thus avoid depriving the state from its just share of the revenue, which can be reinvested in social causes.

Sky has already said that it would limit the gambling-related content advertisement to one slot per commercial break. Meanwhile, the online segment remains testy, as it’s regulated by the CAP Code, which basically means that advertisement can be launched before they are vetted & approved.

Underage gambling has been another serious issue in the country, with estimated 50,000 children suffering from a gambling-related problem of varying severity. The United Kingdom has a lot to do before it can guarantee the safety of all its customers, to mention nothing of those most vulnerable, and Mr. van Rooyen seems to know as much.

Kat Orlov

Newcomer Kat is our newcomer poker aficionado whos skill not only lives on the table but flourishes on the site as through her many sources she never fails to be the first to hear of any important or exciting poker news around the world.