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Prohibition of gambling on credit cards

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

Inconvenience to leisure gamblers​

The inconvenience to leisure gamblers is minimised
The ban was intended to reduce gambling-related harms for those gambling with borrowed money whilst minimising the impact on those that gamble without experiencing harms
The ban has helped some gamblers control their gambling without seriously inconveniencing others

The consumer voice research identified that overall awareness of the ban, even amongst credit card gamblers, is reasonably low. Most of the gamblers used multiple methods of payment and could replace their credit card payments with a viable alternative, for example, a debit card.

The research found that there were 2 main attitudes towards the ban amongst former credit card gamblers:

  • those that feel less tempted to spend money gambling
  • those that experience some inconvenience due to the friction of utilising legal workarounds, but otherwise accept the ban.

Opinions are broadly positive and, for some, the ban has increased awareness of the amount being spent on gambling.

The research concluded that the ban does not appear to have drastically changed overall gambling behaviour and claimed spend but there are indications that gamblers are not falling into debt as frequently or as severely. It has removed a gambling temptation from the minds of some gamblers.

Quotes from the consumer voice research include:

Those that feel less tempted to spend money gambling:

“I use my bank card / my own money, which is definitely better than using a credit card as it’s money I actually have” (Male, 25, PGSI 3-7).

“Any measure that can help people avoid developing a gambling problem has to be applauded. It can remove the temptation for people who might otherwise reach for their credit cards in a vain attempt to recoup any losses” (Male, 56, PGSI 3-7).

“I would say it has been a positive thing for me as it has removed any chance of me getting into debt by using one (a credit card) to gamble with money I don’t have” (Male, 56, PGSI 3-7).

“It’s actually done me a favour as I don’t spend when I don’t have my wages as much. I think it was a really good thing to do” (Female, 25, PGSI 3-7).

“It is positive as I won’t use it if there is no money in my bank where I would probably use it if there wasn’t a ban on it” (Female, 49, PGSI 3-7).

“I still make withdrawals from my credit card when I can’t use my debit card. Inconvenience is that it is harder having to go to the cash point first and then buy lottery tickets” (Female, 32, PGSI 0).

“Moving money over has caused me to have to add an extra step for payment. I wouldn’t exactly call myself ‘inconvenienced’, however” (Male, 52, PGSI 1-2).

“I think it has helped people but, at the same time, I just used a different card to gamble with so if people want to place bets, they will find a way to do so even with the ban in place” (Male, 21, PGSI 3-7).

When asked how the ban on gambling on credit cards had affected individual’s gambling in the Online Tracker of June 2020, responses included individuals who:

Welcomed the additional friction to spending with borrowed money:

“It made it harder for me to gamble because I cannot get access to funds which otherwise were freely available to me without any hassle. The ban has made it harder for me to gamble irresponsibly, which is a good thing.”

“I am more aware of how much I spend as it’s more ‘real money’ to me so I need to be careful of my expenditure.”

Are now gambling within their limits or have reduced the amount of time and money they spend gambling:

“I now bet less because it comes out of my account and feels like real money.”

“It cut off a means to gamble and get myself into deeper debt.”

“It’s stopped me from spending more money, and creating more interest on my credit cards.”

Highlighted their use of workarounds or use of other forms of borrowed money for gambling:

“For several sites, I have had to change the method of payment to a normal bank card. It has forced me to use my overdraft facility a few times instead of the credit card.”

“I stopped using my credit card to fund my gambling directly, but I still can withdraw money from any ATM and use the money the way I like.”

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Prohibition of gambling on credit cards - Displacement to unlicensed gambling sites​
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Prohibition of gambling on credit cards - Conclusions and next steps​
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