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Prohibition of gambling on credit cards

This report focuses on research conducted around the prohibition of gambling on credit cards

Displacement to illegal sources of funds​

Gamblers aren’t displaced to illegal sources of funds, such as loan sharks, theft or fraud
There is a risk that those gambling with credit cards were doing so because it was their sole access to borrowed funds and, in the absence of that, may turn to illegal sources of revenue
We have found no evidence of illegal activities to fund gambling as a result of the ban

From the intelligence that the Illegal Money Lending Team has received from victims with gambling addictions, they have not received any specific reports of illegal money lending from gamblers who have stated they have borrowed because of the credit card ban.

However, this will need to remain under observation as the team has seen a significant reduction in the number of reports received during the pandemic. Pandemic-related factors such as the closure of normal meeting places between loan sharks and victims, restrictions on movement and self-isolation are likely to have contributed to the decrease in reports, but this may change now that restrictions have been eased.

We have found no evidence of illegal activities to fund gambling activities but a regular, reliable source of data on this topic is not available. The Health Survey (opens in new tab) for England includes a question about whether respondents have ‘committed a crime to finance gambling’, but the 2020 fieldwork did not take place due to Covid-19 and the 2021 data is unlikely to be available until Dec 2022. However, the credit card gambling ban is just one of many variables contributing to this figure.

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Prohibition of gambling on credit cards - Displacement to other high-cost credit sources​
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Prohibition of gambling on credit cards - Bypassing the ban through other behaviours​
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