Could UK Government Move to Regulate Credit Cards for Online Gambling?

In 2006, the US legislature passed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 (UIGEA). While many people believe the new law is intended to target online gamblers, the truth is vastly different. The real teeth of the law targets credit card processing companies, making it illegal to knowingly process credit card transactions between US citizens and online gambling websites.

Is it possible that the UK government is looking to pass similar laws? As UK residents enjoy legalized online gambling and taking advantage of a William Hill Promo code every now and then, the notion that credit card gambling is becoming problematic seems to be gaining steam. It’s worth noting that Labour Deputy Leader Tom Watson made mention his party, should it gain power in the next election, would move to pass legislation, making it illegal to use credit cards to fund online gambling accounts.

It would now appear that sentiment is shared with new UK Minister for Sport and Civil Society Mims Davies and the Conservative Party. At a recent GambleAware conference in London, Davies gave her first speech to the Gambling Industry since replacing Tracey Couch as Minister. During the speech, she made clear her office was looking into the possibility of at least limiting the use of credit cards for online gambling purposes.

While addressing the conference, Davies stated: “I want to be very clear – the publication of the Gambling Review did not mark the end of government action.”

People may want to remember that the gambling industry recently published a report that addressed several aspects of online gambling. The report was undoubtedly favorable to the gambling industry, which isn’t surprising being the industry bought and paid for the report put together by the international accounting firm KMPG.

Davies later added:

“I know there are increasing concerns around people gambling on credit cards and whether this should be permitted. This is an area we are already looking into in detail to understand the full situation and to consider if action in this space is needed. The profits of gambling operators aren’t my prime concern. Ensuring problem gamblers have access to the right treatment is.”

At this point, it is unclear whether the conservative party would move for a complete ban on credit card use for gambling or simply try to limit the amounts. Either way, it is sure to meet opposition from both the online gambling providers and online gamblers who enjoy the convenience of making deposits with debit and credit cards. That’s not to mention credit card processors that would be exposed to a number of logistical issues related to compliance.

With the proliferation of online gambling throughout the world, the Gambling Industry is going to be facing these kinds of challenges. It’s worth noting there’s nothing wrong with trying to protect consumers. The reality is online gamblers have many ways to move money, making a credit card ban nothing more than an attempt to ban incurring debt.

the author

He’s a cat. He likes to play video games. He often has a hard time with this since he’s a gamer cat living in a gamer human world, but he gets by.