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Overhaul on credit card gambling in the UK

Tue, Jan 15, 12:45pm by Staff Writer

The UK government is considering a ban on the use of credit cards to gamble with Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright seeking “social responsibility” from all gambling companies as well as the banks.

He will meet with bankers and bookmakers to talk through the problem of players getting into debt using cash they don’t have.

The UK Gambling Commission may recommend banning the practice, but Mr Wright wants all banks to follow the examples of some of their colleagues in permitting card uses to disable spending on gambling through mobile apps.

The Royal Bank of Scotland, Santander, Lloyds and Barclays have all adopted this new approach of keeping customers away from risky gambling by allowing them to use mobile apps to forbid gambling transactions.

It is thought as much as 20 per cent of online gambling spend is through credit cards.

The move is part of a broader crackdown that will also lead to the government seeking to address slow progress on self-exclusion schemes, which are designed to help addicts opt out of betting.

The GamStop self-exclusion scheme has been a flawed project, with the system designed to help problem gamblers from betting.

The technology works by registering the personal details of problem gamblers and sharing this information among other betting sites.

The technology is inherently flawed however, with a change of the surname without other details such as an email or home address allowing customers access to the site.

This means addicts could still be bombarded with adverts, a problem that has been a common feature in the UK.

The UK Gambling Commission has been looking to prohibit or restrict credit card use since 2017 when it published its review of the state of the gambling industry in the country.

Skin betting lures children to gamble

One of the major concerns from that report was the increase in children in England, Wales and Scotland being exposed to gambling related activities.

A large percentage of children were regularly playing either free to play or real money games according to Tight Poker.

Skin Betting is the latest fad to have caught the attention of children in the UK. It is where players can use real money to purchase items in a video game that can be then wagered or sold for real cash.

A number of online gambling operators have built online games revolving around skin betting video games and are able to lure children to bet with real money.

The UKGC survey found that 45 per cent of those surveyed between the ages of 11 and 16 were aware of skin betting.

Boys were more likely to engage in skin betting as 59 per cent of them knew what skin betting was, while only 31 per cent of girls claimed to know about skin betting.

The maximum bet on a UK pokies machine has changed

The move to potentially ban credit card betting comes after Mr Wright announced changes to poker machine stakes in the UK.

The maximum pokie machine bet in the UK will soon be £2 (A$3.60) from £100 (A$176).

Lawmakers in the UK have been critical of pokie machines for allowing gamblers to rack up large losses in a short space of time.

“The government has been clear that protecting vulnerable people is the prime concern, but that as a responsible government it is also right to take the needs of those employed by the gambling industry into account,” Mr Wright said.

Mr Wright said a planned increase in Remote Gaming Duty, paid by online gaming operators would be brought forward to April 2019 to cover the negative impact on public finances as a result of the cut to the maximum pokie stake.

“The government will expect the gambling industry to work with it to reduce the effect of any impact on jobs and to support employees that may be affected by this expedited time,” he said.

Pokie machines generated tremendous revenues for the Government in the UK, with A$3.2 billion in revenue generated from pokie machines, with A$719 million of taxes going to the Government.

Britain has an estimated 9 million online gamblers, making it one of the fastest-growing online gambling markets in the world.

Announcing a broader crackdown on erring gambling operators, Mr Wright said that some firms are not doing enough to address problem gambling – and it may cost them their licenses.

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