Published on: 31.07.2019

UK Gambling Commission follow-up of online gambling credit card use

After the collection of evidence from stakeholders, including the public and operators concerning credit card use in online gaming starting back in February, the UK Gambling Commission has provided an update. Beginning in the middle of August, the UKGC will be holding a 12-week consultation.

Key points

The conclusion of this consultation period could result in a total ban of online gambling using credit cards, though this will be decided based on the evidence collected. Key points raised were that a ban on credit cards would likely result in a shift to other forms of borrowing, including overdraft and loans. The use of e-wallets conceals the original source of funds, which could be from a credit card like Visa or Mastercard. The UKGC is interested in collecting further evidence relating to the motivation for using credit cards.

Credit gambling in the United Kingdom

The Problem Gambling Severity Index (PGSI) has already identified the use of credit, including overdraft facilities, payday loans and cards as sources of risk. Players who suspect that they may have a compulsive gambling problem can take tests such as the Canadian Problem Gambling Index (CPGI) or the DSM-IV Pathological Gambling Diagnostic Form. These consist of specific questions about player behaviour that will help to determine the level of addiction.

What causes a gambling addiction

There are many potential causes of gambling addiction. Often people with a gambling addiction or also prone to other mental health issues such as alcohol abuse, substance abuse or depression. Some players gamble out of desperation to win money to solve financial problems, while others play for the rush that they get from it. It can sometimes also be for social reasons.

Recognizing the symptoms of a gambling addiction

There are a number of recognizable symptoms of a gambling problem. One might be that a compulsive gambler has become secretive about their gambling habit, including their deposit amounts, gambling losses and amount of time spent gambling. Another sign of an addiction is the inability to walk away and chasing losses in an attempt to win them back. Problem gamblers will often borrow money and may resort to stealing or selling personal items to finance their addiction.

Treatment to stop gambling

Persons needing addiction treatment for online gambling have a number of options at their disposal which could include treatment options such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), self-help groups such as Gamblers Anonymous, family and friends.

There are also steps that players can take on their own including using software apps such as Gamban and Betfilter that block access to online gambling websites. This software is optimised for Mac, Android, iOS and Windows. Players from certain countries such as the UK and Sweden can also opt to have their names placed on self exclusion lists. In the UK, the self-exclusion list lasts a minimum of 6 months. There is a multi operator self exclusion scheme in the UK called GAMSTOP where licensed operators must close the accounts of members and remove them from marketing databases.

For help regarding problem gambling, please visit www.begambleaware.org

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