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Gloucestershire Business News

Gloucester MP welcomes ban on online gambling with credit cards

A ban on online bookmakers being able to take bets on credit card will be introduced in April.

The ban, issued by The Gambling Commission, will come into effect on April 14 and follows a review of online gambling.

According to the Gambling Commission, 24 million adults in Great Britain take part in gambling with 10.5 million of those placing their bets online.

UK finance estimate that around 800,000 consumers use credit cards to place their bets.

Further research undertaken by the Commission shows that around a quarter (22 per cent) of online gamblers using credit cards are classed as problem gamblers - with even more at some risk of harm.

The ban, which will apply to all online and offline gambling products with the exception of non-remote lotteries, will provide a significant layer of additional protection to vulnerable people.

It has been welcomed by Gloucester MP Richard Graham, who said: "The next vital step forward- gambling on credit cards to be banned.

"Anyone who has met the families of those who've lost everything and in some cases committed suicide from gambling debts will know how critical this is."

Neil McArthur, Gambling Commission chief executive, added: "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."

Last year Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sportministers also met with banks and gambling operators to discuss their growing concerns over gambling addicition.

Culture Minister Helen Whately said: "While 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.

"In the past year we have introduced a wave of tougher measures, including cutting the maximum stake on fixed odds betting terminals, bringing in tighter age and identity checks for online gambling and expanding national specialist support through the NHS Long Term Plan.

"We have also secured a series of commitments from five leading gambling operators that will include £100 million funding towards treatment for problem gamblers.

"But there is more to do. We will be carrying out a review of the Gambling Act to ensure it is fit for the digital age and we will be launching a new nationwide addiction strategy in 2020.

"We will not hesitate to take any further action necessary to protect people from gambling harm."

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