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Gambling Commission proclaims credit card ban successful in interim report

The Gambling Commission’s (GC) credit card ban is popular among consumers and has resulted in no harmful consequences, the watchdog’s interim evaluation has shown.

Introduced in April 2020, the credit card ban was intended to curb consumers’ debt accumulation by making it more difficult to gamble with borrowed funds, but many worried the ban would push punters to seek other forms of borrowed money, including from illicit sources.

However, the Commission’s interim report appears to prove otherwise, with the proportion of consumers obtaining cash elsewhere remaining largely stable.

There were no increases in illegal money lending related to gambling, there were no observable spikes in credit transfers and there were no spikes in ATM withdrawals from credit cards. The ban is also popular among consumers, with far fewer people now using borrowed funds to gamble while most also support its stated aim to limit gambling-related debt.

In addition, the Commission noted that major e-wallet and electronic money providers have blocked gambling transactions if funding originated from credit cards.

“Protecting consumers is at the heart of everything we do, and we introduced this policy as part of our multifaceted work to reduce gambling harm,” said Andrew Rhodes, the GC’s Interim Chief Executive.

“The successful implementation of the ban across the industry and the impact on consumer behaviour and financial spend we have monitored so far is an encouraging sign that the ban has reduced consumer reliance on gambling with borrowed money.”

NatCen Social Research has been commissioned to carry out a full evaluation of the ban, scheduled for completion in early 2023. From this, along with continued monitoring, the GC will develop future policy.

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