Gambling Commission launches consultation on gambling with credit cards

United Kingdom

Further to its announcement on 24 July (covered in our Law Now here) the Gambling Commission (the "Commission") has launched a twelve-week consultation on gambling with credit cards. The consultation began on 14 August and runs until 6 November.

The Commission is consulting the public and all other stakeholders on whether there should be a ban on using credit cards to gamble or whether limits and restrictions on such use of credit cards should be introduced. While much of the earlier discussion focused on banning the use of credit cards for online gambling, the Commission makes clear that the options open for consultation concern all sectors of the gambling industry that are currently permitted to accept credit card payments, including online betting but also casino, bingo and lottery operators, along with high street bookmakers.

The Commission's call for evidence earlier this year raised related issues to imposing a ban, such as consumers using alternative forms of borrowing (such as overdrafts or loans) to fund gambling or whether a ban could require e-wallet providers to take action given operators have no means of knowing which method the deposit originated from when e-wallets are used.

In the consultation documentation, the Commissions states that, in the case of a ban, it would need to prevent gambling operators from accepting any payment via e-wallets unless e-wallet providers could prevent credit cards being used for online gambling through their facilities. Alternatively, if restrictions or limits were imposed, the Commission would need to make sure that any such limits or restrictions could be equally applied to the use of credit cards through e-wallets. The Commission will be writing to e-wallet providers and state they "encourage them" to consider the "solutions they can deliver to facilitate any regulatory change".

Whilst the industry may expect a total ban, it will be interesting to see what the outcome of the consultation is and how widely the Commission exerts its power.