UKGC encouraged by ‘successful’ credit card ban implementation

A UK Gambling Commission interim evaluation into last year’s credit card ban has indicated that “the action is popular among consumers and has not resulted in harmful unintended consequences”.

The ban on gambling with credit cards was announced on January 14, 2020, and ultimately introduced three months later, with a view to “add another layer of protection for consumers and add friction to the process of gambling with borrowed money”.

The report, based upon an online tracker survey, with around 2,000 adults over 18, and consumer voice research, that involved an eight day online programme with 30 individuals, was undertaken by Yonder Consulting and 2CV, respectively, and found that support for the ban among consumers “has been largely positive”.

The UKGC adds that qualitative data from consumers “supports the conclusion that the ban helps people to gamble within their means and retain control”.

The proportion of consumers reporting gambling with other forms of borrowed money is said to have remained stable, with it added that “there has been no increase in reports of illegal money lending related to gambling”.

Furthermore, bank data is said to have observed no spike for credit card gamblers in money transfers in the three months after the ban, with no rise in ATM withdrawals also evident around the time of implementation, and “far more people who previously gambled with a credit card now gamble with available (not borrowed) funds than other types of borrowed money”.

Moreover, the UKGC also discloses that it has found that 76 per cent of previous credit card gamblers do not gamble with other types of borrowed money.

However, 15 per cent of those quizzed suggest that they continue to borrow funds as a result of the credit card ban, with nine per cent stating that their borrowing is “as a result of something else”.

Andrew Rhodes, interim chief executive of the Gambling Commission, commented: “Protecting consumers is at the heart of everything we do, we introduced this policy as part of our multifaceted work to reduce gambling harm.

“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. 

“We look forward to NatCen’s report on the long-term impacts of the ban and how this can inform our future policies.”

NatCen Social Research have been commissioned to conduct a full evaluation of the ban on gambling with credit cards, which is scheduled for completion in early 2023.