Call for evidence: gambling on credit cards

Closed 16 May 2019

Opened 21 Feb 2019


In 2018 the RGSB provided advice to the Commission on online gambling which included recommendations on gambling using credit. The advice noted that gambling with borrowed money, including with a credit card, is a well-established risk factor for harmful gambling.

It acknowledged that online operators may not always be aware that a customer is gambling with borrowed funds, as money can be borrowed other than through credit cards – for example, where a customer is gambling using an overdraft or a loan. While the variety of available forms of credit may pose some challenges for consumer protection, the key principle underlined by RGSB is that gambling with borrowed money significantly increases the risk that consumers will gamble with more money than they can afford.

The RGSB therefore recommended restricting consumers’ ability to gamble online with credit, including prohibiting gambling online with credit cards.  

In the Commission’s Review of Online Gambling we outlined our support for the principle that consumers should not gamble with money they do not have. We said we would consider restricting or prohibiting the use of credit cards for gambling, but that we would explore the consequences of doing so. We therefore committed to conduct further work in this area. 

To help us develop our understanding of the issues we will be requesting information from a range of stakeholders including gambling operators and financial institutions, and we will be engaging with debt relief charities and consumers (for example those who have accessed services to treat gambling-related harm). Gambling with credit cards will also form part of the Commission’s research priorities over the next year.

In addition to our data requests and engagement we are inviting all stakeholders to respond to this exercise, in particular to:

  • provide any information that will enable us to develop a comprehensive picture of gambling with credit cards, including the scale of their use for gambling and the risks associated; and  
  • provide evidence of effective harm prevention measures that might serve as robust alternatives to prohibiting or restricting gambling with credit cards. These might include, for example, the full rollout of card-blocking facilities that enable consumers to block gambling transactions via their credit cards, or imposing account limits until operators have verified further information about the customer (for example, assessing the levels of gambling spend the customer might be able to afford), if such controls are demonstrably effective.  

We will set out some detailed proposals for further consultation based on the evidence gathered from this exercise, and from our ongoing work in this area. However, in the absence of effective consumer protections to limit the risks of harm posed by gambling with credit cards, we will consider whether regulatory interventions such as restricting or prohibiting gambling via credit cards are necessary.


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