In recent months, we have seen a number of responsible gambling campaigns launched; some successful, some failing to gain momentum. From bans on betting advertisements before the watershed to campaigns formed to reduce betting over the Christmas period, it seems the aim to aid Britain back to gambling health is well and truly on.
While efforts are being made to stamp out problem gambling, a recent announcement is set to change the gambling landscape indefinitely.
According to various credible sources, the Gambling Commission has put a ban on credit card betting; an industry-wide change that will be rolled out on April 14th of this year (2020). Announced following a review of the betting industry, Government voted to ban the use of credit cards on online and offline gambling products.
Lotteries that are run for good causes are however exempt from this change.
The banning of credit card betting is a subject that has been under review for over a decade now, with both industry and charity representatives understanding the issues credit card betting boasts. Seeing bettors effectively bet with money that isn’t theirs, many problem gamblers have found themselves in huge amounts of debt, encouraging them to bet more to not only cover their losses but the debt to come.
During the Gambling Commission’s research, they found that a huge 24 million UK adults gambled. 10.5 million of those are doing so through online betting and casino sites. What’s more is that 22% of online gamblers that are using credit cards are classed as ‘problem gamblers’. This means nearly a quarter (230,000) of credit card bettors are further impacting their financial health by having the option to bet with credit.
Wanting to limit the amount of financial harm gambling poses, the decision to ban credit cards has been welcomed with open arms.
Neil McArthur, Gambling Commission’s chief executive, said:
"Credit card gambling can lead to significant financial harm. The ban that we have announced today should minimise the risks of harm to consumers from gambling with money they do not have.
"We also know that there are examples of consumers who have accumulated tens of thousands of pounds of debt through gambling because of credit card availability.
"There is also evidence that the fees charged by credit cards can exacerbate the situation because the consumer can try to chase losses to a greater extent."
Speaking to many gambling addicts in recovery, the team responsible for actioning this ban pressed on experiences of those like Chris Murphy. Chris, who had been trying to manage his gambling addiction for over a decade, racked up £100,000 in debt through betting. Finding the road to recovery incredibly hard, Chris tells how having the option to bet with a credit card made relapsing that much easier.
"There have been times when I've been gambling-free for months, and then borrowed some money from say a payday loan site or a credit card, and woke up the next day having lost all my money and created a few thousand pound worth of debt."
"It made me feel like I would never get free," he told the BBC.
Culture Minister Helen Whately, is also eager to protect consumers from forming gambling-related issues. Talking about the ban, she said:
"Whilst millions gamble responsibly, I have also met people whose lives have been turned upside down by gambling addiction.
"There is clear evidence of harm from consumers betting with money they do not have, so it is absolutely right that we act decisively to protect them."
Combatting problem gambling
At Betaid, we work hard to aid problem gamblers back to health, offering support to both gamblers as well as their friends and family members. If you are feeling out of control, below are a few techniques to consider:
Betting Limits – Betting limits are an effective way of managing betting spend, with all betting sites giving its members the option to set a daily/weekly betting limit. This means once the sum has been spent, you will be locked out of the betting account, unable to ‘chase bets’ or spend money you cannot afford to.
Time Out – The majority of UK betting sites will also give members the choice to have some ‘time out’; excluding themselves from betting for a chosen amount of time. Most sites work with 24hr, 48hr, 7 day or 30 day period options.
Reality Check – Making use of ‘reality check’ features is another method used by people looking to combat gambling issues. This is basically a tool that shows you what physical amounts of cash look like, ensuring you have not lost touch with the value of money when gambling.
Self-Exclusion – When struggling to control your betting spend or the frequency of your betting, the best option is to exclude yourself from the betting site you are using. This process can be actioned via the betting site’s ‘Responsible Gambling’ section. There is also the option to self-exclude from multiple operators. Anybody can do this through connecting with GAMSTOP; the UK's national online self-exclusion scheme.
How can Betaid help with problem gambling?
Here at Betaid, our mission is to provide advice and support to those suffering with gambling issues, pooling resources, links and contact details for support groups and charities. This is in addition to our support guides and articles created by our in-house team.
If you are faced with a gambling problem or are looking to support someone who is, head over to our homepage now.