If you’re a gambler in the United Kingdom, life is about to get a little more difficult. Starting April 14th, UK-based businesses can no longer accept credit cards for those wishing to place bets.

And make no mistake…Brits love to gamble. Revenues reached the $18.7 billion mark from 2018 to 2019, and the nation’s highest-paid CEO happens to work for Bet365 (to the tune of $422 million).

How the Ban Works

Enforced by the UK Gambling Commission, the ban prevents credit cards from being used for the purposes of gambling. This is sure to impact some of the 24 million punters living in Britain, and especially the 10.5 million who gamble online.

The ban begins on April 14th and was enacted following a lengthy review by both the government and the UK Gambling Commission.

Are There Any Exemptions?

The only exception to the ban are tickets from the National Lottery. The commission said it would be too difficult for retailers to separate these transactions. Others have pointed to the charitable contributions made by the lottery. Studies also show less correlation between lotteries and problem gambling.

Whatever the case, it looks like the government was able to squeeze out the competition while leaving their own gambling scheme intact.

It should be noted that any lottery for a good cause may be exempt. However, they will have to provide additional layers of protection for at-risk individuals. Of course, this mostly seems to come down to the National Lottery, but I wanted to be specific.

The Purpose of the Ban

The main reason for the ban is an effort to curb problem gambling. After all, we wouldn’t want residents of the UK to turn into degenerates like their Aussie cousins, would we?

The UK Gambling Commission found that 22% of online punters using credit cards suffer from problem gambling. Of the remaining 78%, a sizable portion were dealing with some level of gambling harm.

According to Commission chief Neil McArthur, “We also know that there are examples of consumers who have accumulated tens of thousands of pounds of debt through gambling because of credit card availability. There is also evidence that the fees charged by credit cards can exacerbate the situation because the consumer can try to chase losses to a greater extent.”

Man using a credit card to gambling online.

Other UK Gambling Regulations

Those who follow British gaming news felt an ill wind blowing as far back as early 2019. During February of that year, the UK Gaming Commission announced tougher customer ID rules to go into effect on May 7th, 2019. This is part of a three-year place to curb problem gambling across the nation.

Under the old system, gambling operators had up to 72 hours to make sure each customer was of legal gaming age. Now, the verification must be complete before any wager or transaction can take place.

For online gambling, the restrictions don’t stop with real-money wagers. Free-to-play games are also included, mainly because these are often used as a gateway experience to encourage for-money play.

Also, don’t forget about GAMSTOP. This is a multi-operator self-exclusion scheme that applies to a large number of gambling sites. Eventually, the UK Gaming Commission will require all such sites to participate. Signing up blocks your participation for a minimum of six months, and you can learn more about the process by clicking on this link.

Additional Reading

If you’d like to read more about how these issues apply to Aussies, check out the following: