Problem gambling is a big deal in the UK and one of the measures that the UKGC has come up to stop this is to ban the use of credit cards for online gambling. Whether you are thinking of placing a bet on a sporting event or for games in an online casino, the use of credit cards for these will no longer be allowed. This is due to the findings that the commission has on this issue and how people rack up huge credit card debts because of it.
Some people who depend on their credit cards to help them with their daily lives soon find themselves drowning in debt and unable to support themselves. The problem just keeps getting worse with the person betting money they don’t actually have in the hopes that they will eventually win big.
Why Ban Credit Cards for Online Gambling
The main reason behind this banning of credit card funded gambling is this is where the problem starts. People tend to think that the money they have on their credit cards is free money without even realizing that the money there is actually something they have to pay back. When they lose money that they charged on their card, the mindset is they can easily win it back by playing even more. This is where the downward spiral begins.
A lot of people have fallen into this trap of betting even more money using their credit cards in the hope that they will win back what they bet. This same hope is what drives them deeper into debt since the more they charge on their card in the hopes of winning enough to pay back their debt, the bigger the debt they need to repay. This has led to thousands of people swimming in credit card debt that they don’t know how to pay back.
Take for example the gambler who amassed £25,000 in debt on all his credit cards at the age of 27. It all began with a gambling debt of £600 that he thought he could cover by betting more on online casinos using his credit cards. Chasing his losses with money he did not have ended up with him having to pay off a debt that will take him around 10 years of frugality. That means 10 years of not being able to enjoy life, not being able to give his family anything other than the bare necessities.
Another example of a person who did not think that credit card gambling was a bad idea is the 24-year-old man who took out £2,000 on his credit card to use as his bankroll. He lost all of it and decided to stop. The lure of wagering with money that you don’t have, however, called him back and with the thought that he could easily pay off the remaining balance on his card by winning, he then plays again. This time, he ends up using all five of his credit cards trying to chase the loss. He is now £60,000 in debt. He has now had to mortgage his home to cover part of this debt and to continue working without enjoying even the simplest pleasures because of this.
How Much Do People in the UK Spend on Gambling?
If you were to calculate how much money goes into gambling in the UK, you will be surprised to learn that in a year around £14 billion was poured into this pastime. If you were to divide this amount between the many different forms of wagering available to you in the country, the biggest amount goes to online casinos. Second to this, but still, just half of what is spent on online casinos, is sports betting followed by the lottery.
A lot of this £14 billion involves the use of credit cards, hence the staggering number of people suffering from credit card debt due to online gambling. Most of those who gamble, whether online, or in other forms, are between the ages of 24 and 40, with more men than women participating in games of chance. This means men are more susceptible to wasting away their money than women are, accounting for a huge percentage of this amount.
In 2018, in the hopes of lowering this number, the UKGC changed the maximum betting stakes on FOTBs (fixed-odds betting terminals) from £100 to a mere £2. This was in a bid to try and curtail the gambling addiction that people had and to reduce the amount of money people lost in one sitting. This caused a huge number of betting shops to close down and losses of upwards of £100 million for the industry.
The move, however, did very little to stop people from amassing huge debts in this hobby via their credit cards. Hence the next move, which was to ban the use of credit cards in gambling. The logic was, if you did not have the money to gamble with, you shouldn’t be doing it. While this may work, some people may find a way around it by taking out cash loans using their credit cards with an exorbitant interest rate instead. Since some banks allow their users to cash out up to a few thousand pounds on their credit cards via a cash advance scheme, this can prove to be another problem that needs to be addressed.
The Goal of Banning Credit Card Use for Online Gambling
It is clear what the main purpose of banning credit card use on online gambling is – it’s to curtail the compulsiveness of people to gamble using money they don’t have. It is also to help people avoid debt that will affect the way they live and the lives of their families. Problem gambling is an issue that has been plaguing the country for years and this seems to be one of the solutions seen by the government to stop it.
Problem gambling is a dilemma that plagues approximately 1% of the population. That’s 9 people in every thousand who struggle with an addiction to this activity. People who find themselves itching to gamble often find themselves not only neck-deep in debt but sometimes without a home and savings. All of these have been squandered off to gambling, leaving them with almost nothing to live on.
While a lot of people have acknowledged that they have this problem and have been calling for help via GamCare, which is a charity that helps those with problem gambling issues, it is not enough. The government had to step in to give a hand with this issue, hence the banning of credit cards when it comes to this activity. The hope here is that more people will be able to stop doing this since they cannot use such a convenient fount of cash for it.
While there are still a few other avenues people can use to get their hands on money for such a habit, like payday loans and the like, these have a rather low limit that they cannot abuse. These kinds of loans also have a short shelf life, with people being required to pay these off by their next payday or get hit by large interest rates.
As of the moment, the banning of credit card use in online gambling is being seen as a beacon of hope for those who suffer from this addiction. Whether it will work or not, in the long run, remains to be seen. For now, it should suffice for those who are looking to find a way out of their gambling problem.