UK charity Citizens Advice has called for online credit card deposits to be banned from gambling websites.
It has been estimated that there are around 430,000 problem gamblers in the UK, plus another 2 million at risk of becoming addicted to gambling.
The proposed ban is just one of many measures included in a report submitted by Citizens Advice to the UK Government´s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sports (DCMS). The government Department is conducting a review of the UK´s gambling regulations, which is likely to result in some significant changes to the UK betting industry.
Another measure likely to be introduced is a cap on the maximum bet allowed on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs).
FOBTs are electronic slot machines found in betting shops on which gamblers can play a range of casino-style games. Gamblers can bet up £100 on the spin of a reel or on a simulated horse race, and these machines are so popular, it is estimated they provide betting operators with around 50 per cent of their revenues.
However, with an expected limit of just £2 per bet expected to be introduced on these machines, it is likely that revenue will fall dramatically.
Perhaps one of the most important changes likely is to make the currently voluntary contribution made by gambling operators to GambleAware mandatory.
All UK gambling operators currently are supposed to contribute 0.1 per cent of their revenue to GambleAware – an independent charity set up to fund research, education and treatment services in the UK.
The contribution is currently voluntary however, which means that many operators fail to pay towards the service.
Citizens Advice want the contribution to be not only made mandatory, but also to increase it tenfold to 1 per cent of revenues.
The most significant change however is likely to be the ban on credit card deposits. It has been found that the majority of UK online gamblers use credit cards to make deposits, leaving them open to gamble more than they can afford.
The consultation period for the DCMS´ review of the UK´s gambling regulations has now closed, and the Department will be making its recommendations to the UK´s Government in the next few weeks. Whether the recommendations will include a ban on online credit card deposits is not known, and the UK Government is not compelled to act on the recommendations.
However, the Gambling Commission has the authority to amend its Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice without government approval, so the measure could be implemented regardless of the DCMS´ final report.