We recently wrote – at length – about the impact addiction has on finances. So, when we heard this week that you soon won’t be able to gamble using credit cards, we were delighted.
What the credit card gambling ban means
An estimated 10 million Britons gamble online every year. At the moment, it’s easy to make deposits into online gambling accounts using credit cards. A significant 24 million of us gamble overall, too – that includes bingo halls, betting shops, and lotteries.
The Gambling Commission wants to continue to develop an environment of social responsibility around gambling. At the moment, it’s easy to rack up thousands of pounds of debts using credit cards. The Commission want to prevent the harm caused by using credit cards to fund a gambling addiction.
From April 14th 2020, you won’t be able to use your credit card to add funds to your online gambling account or play in certain offline outlets.
Why credit card gambling debt is worse than you think
You may be wondering why it’s only credit cards that have been banned, and not debit cards (which could be funded by unaffordable loans, for example).
Credit card debts have two massive issues when it comes to gambling:
1) Credit card interest rates are incredibly high, and
2) Gambling counts as a cash deposit – adding extra fees to each transaction.
These extra fees, as well as huge interest rates, can slash people’s chances of being able to get out of debt caused by gambling.
Which gambling outlets are affected?
Gambling is a broader term than many think. It’s not just online casinos that need to adhere to gambling regulations.
If you play:
- Any lottery that is not for charity
- Online bingo
- Online slot machines
- Sports betting websites or counters
You won’t be able to use your credit card either online or offline.
If you play the National Lottery, the Health Lottery, or any other lottery that has a charitable cause, you can still use your credit card. These lotteries will have other restrictions placed on them to protect players from running up large debts.
Do you already have debts?
If you’ve already got debts – whether from gambling or otherwise – don’t panic. There’s always help available for you.
Second, get in touch with StepChange for a free chat to see if they can help you set up a debt management plan to give you some breathing space and get back on track with your finances
Oh, and make sure to read our whole article on addiction, finances, and getting help.