Following a recent call for evidence on the issue of gambling online with credit cards, the Gambling Commission has confirmed it will be holding a twelve-week consultation to begin in mid-August.
One approach would be to ban UK online casino gambling with credit cards.
However, the public and all other stakeholders will be consulted on other options, including restricting the use of credit cards.
The Commission will then take the most appropriate course of action in view of any evidence obtained by this consultation, alongside data already submitted.
The call for evidence, which the Commission launched in February, provided several key interest points around the use of credit cards to gamble online. These included:
- Alternative forms of borrowing: if action is taken on credit cards alone then consumers experiencing harm may use other forms of borrowing to fund their gambling, such as overdrafts and loans. It is therefore vital that the financial and gambling sectors work to protect customers from harm where they gamble with other forms of borrowed money.
- E-Wallets: where online gambling deposits are made through some e-wallets, operators have no means of knowing which method the payment originated from. Any future proposals would therefore require e-wallet providers to take the necessary action to support any regulatory measures introduced.
- Further evidence: the Commission wants to obtain further evidence about consumers’ motivations for using credit cards to gamble, and any specific benefits of using them. The call for evidence highlighted very little in this regard. In aiming to prevent harm from gambling with credit cards, the Commission is clear that it must take account of the impact of a ban or restrictions on gamblers who are not experiencing gambling harms.
Paul Hope, Executive Director at the Gambling Commission, said: “Gambling with borrowed money is known to be a risk factor for consumers, so we think there is a need for action.
“This consultation will help us decide what that action should be.”
The Gambling Commission have also announced new rules to make gambling safer and fairer, which will come into force later this year and next year.
Changes to alternative resolution providers (ADR)
Gambling businesses will now be required to use only ADR providers.
The additional standards cover aspects such as customer service, decision making and governance. They make the role of an ADR provider clearer, improve consistency, and reassure consumers that a provider is independent of the gambling business.
These rules will come into force on October 31 and will affect all licences (including ancillary remote licensees) except gaming machine technical and gambling software licences.
Changes to customer interaction
The requirements on businesses to interact with customers at risk of or experiencing harm have been strengthened.
The new requirements focus more on the outcomes of identifying and interacting with customers who may be at risk of or experiencing harms associated with gambling, as well as assessing the impact that a customer interaction has on an individual consumer and the effectiveness of businesses’ overall approach.
These rules will also come into force on October 31 and will affect all licences, except non-remote lottery, gaming machine technical, gambling software and host licences.
Changes to how operators contribute to research, prevention and treatment
The Commission is committed to pushing operators to meet their responsibilities under the current voluntary arrangements for funding for research, prevention and treatment.
The new rules will ensure that funds contributed by gambling businesses to meet the requirements of their licence are targeted at delivering the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms in Britain, by setting a list of bodies to which businesses can contribute.
The change will also support greater transparency of the amounts contributed by gambling businesses over time.
These rules will come into force on January 1 2020 and will affect all licences.
Mr Hope added: “These changes have been designed to make gambling fairer and safer for consumers and we expect gambling firms to meet their responsibilities in these areas.”
Image courtesy of Kanijoman via Flickr, with thanks.