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By the fact you’ve landed on this article, we’re assuming you’ve discovered that all UK based gambling sites no longer accept credit card payments, and you are wondering why. This banking change dealt a huge blow to not only the gambling industry, but also players who chose this as their preferred method.
The legislation that made using credit cards on betting sites illegal, was introduced on the 14th of April 2020, by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC). This was one of the biggest amendments brought in by the UKGC since their inception on the 01st of September 2007.
The UKGC’s focus is to ensure that crime is kept out of the gambling industry, through Know Your Customer and Source of Wealth checks. Money laundering has been a significant problem in both online and land-based casinos, and it can have an economic impact in the long term. They also check that any legislation and conditions for betting sites will protect the most vulnerable people, including children and those with addictive tendencies.
Since the UK Gambling Commission started, we have seen changes such as.
- Demo games only available to players who have registered with the gambling site.
- Know Your Customer checks which will identify the player against government issued documents.
- Source of Wealth checks so that the site can ensure that the player has adequate funds to gamble.
- Bonus and promotional imagery must have basic terms and conditions shown, such as the wagering requirement multipliers.
- Removal of child themed games, which may entice vulnerable players.
- That there is a specific section for terms and conditions, and they can be found easily on any page you land on.
- Players are provided with information on support for gambling addictions such as the organisations ‘GamStop’ and ‘GamCare’.
As you can see, they have been pretty busy since they began, and the legislation that was introduced has been seen to benefit both the players and the sites. So why did they make it illegal for betting sites to be able to accept credit cards?
Why Did the UK Gambling Commission Bring in the Credit Card Ban?
The UKGC conducted a review of online gambling, and this included a public consultation with players between August and November 2019. The outcome of this showed that a huge percentage of the 24 million adults who gamble, do so using credit cards. But more importantly, 22% of those players would be classed as gamblers with an addictive tendency and as such they are at risk of harm.
Introducing the ban meant that if you wanted to bet any money on a gambling site, it can only be done with your money. This and the addition of the source of funds checks, has led to casino sites having the responsibility to ensure that their players can afford to participate in online games. If they fail to complete adequate checks or follow the UKGC legislation, then they can be fined and have their licence removed, which will stop them from being able to provide services to UK customers.
Was Banning Credit Cards on UK Betting Sites the Right Move?
In all honesty yes, even though for many of us who do not have harmful tendencies, it was seen as a pain. As we mentioned above the objective of the UKGC is to protect the vulnerable and during the public consultation it was found that many customers of betting sites were tens of thousands of pounds in debt. This was all due to credit card availability, with many players having more than one card. Add to this the impact of the cards fees which pushed the gambler into even more difficulties.
Many players gambled with credit cards because they were easy to use and reduced the risk of bank fraud. Most credit cards such as Master Card and Visa offer protection to customers who are victims of fraud and will refund the money back to the account. The UKGC recognised this but felt that the harmful impact on those who were vulnerable outweighed the inconvenience of removing the cards as a banking choice.
What Other Banking Options are Available to me When I Gamble on UK Casinos?
Don’t worry there are plenty of other payment options available on UK casino sites, here are a few of our favourites.
Not as popular as other payment options but debit cards are generally pretty simple to use, and you will find that the money is transferred relatively quickly. There is always the concern of giving the casino your bank details, but remember that most sites have to ensure they have SSL encryption software and 3d secure payment portals to prevent hacking.
Undoubtably the most popular method, because they are convenient and have additional modern financial security benefits including encryption technology. Probably the best e-wallet and most famous of them all will be Paypal because it is pretty much used for everything. But there are a whole host of other options such as Skrill, Neteller, Trustly, MuchBetter and Ilixium.
Pay by Phone Bill – Boku
Again, another popular option due to the fact that you do not have to give the gambling site your bank details, and you can add the credit to your phone bill and pay it off at a later date. You basically register on the site and choose the Boku or pay by mobile option. You will be transferred through to Boku and all you need to provide is your mobile phone number. They will message you to verify that it is you and once confirmed, the money will be credited to your casino account. When you receive your mobile phone bill, you will see any credit amounts logged.
There is also the option of landline casino payments which is the same thing, but the number you will give is for your landline and they will call to verify the information. Then the deposit amounts will show up on your landline bill.
The least favourite banking method, mainly because the actual transfer time can take between 5 to 8 business days. We still mention it because it is a payment option which is available on all gambling sites.
Cryptocurrency – Bitcoin
Probably not something you immediately think of when you consider banking methods. Most people shy away from crypto because they’re not sure what it is or how to use it, and not every gambling site offers it as an option either. Bitcoin can add a layer of anonymity for the player when it is used for payment. But remember the minute you want to transfer it back to real cash, then you have to provide personal details.
Summary of Why are Credit Card Payments Banned on UK Gambling Sites?
As you can see there are very clear and legitimate reasons why the option for banking on casinos with credit cards was banned. The fact that a significant proportion of problem gamblers use this method means it was something that needed rectifying. Having a gambling addiction can significantly impact the life of the person and their family and friends, so steps must be taken to ensure that we minimise the risk to society in general.
If you are concerned about your betting habits or those of a family member then please contact ‘BeGambleAware’ on 0808 8020 133, they are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and the call is completely free. You can either use live chat or speak to an adviser, but all of your details will remain confidential.
All gambling sites must offer the ability to self-exclude, which basically means that as a player you can choose to block yourself from being able to bet. This is normally for a minimum of 6 months, but it is another step which will reduce the harmful impact that gambling can cause.
Hopefully we have not only answered the original question of why credit cards were banned, but also given you enough information to choose another preferred banking option.