The UK Gambling Commission said on Thursday that it is considering an outright ban on online betting sites using credit cards. The regulator is upping the ante in its fight against unrestrained digital gambling which has raised several eyebrows off late.
The regulator is currently gathering evidence about the scale of gambling using credit cards and the risks associated with the same. If it goes through with its plan, it could provide customers with software to block their cards on these sites or impose account limits. The Gambling Commission also said that it would consider a complete ban on gambling using credit cards.
An online gambling review by the regulator conducted last year found that the industry’s efforts to reduce the harm caused by gambling to its customers were significantly lower than they should be. It also said that the borrowed money was particularly dangerous to the gamblers.
The regulator wants gambling companies to describe how they aim to protect their customers using betting machines. The watchdog is seeking submissions on whether gamblers should be allowed to play with borrowed money. It also seeks views on improving player control measures on category B gaming machines, which are not available in family entertainment centers or pubs.
Note that category B machines have a maximum stake of 2 pounds, but category B2 machines still have a higher stake of 100 pounds. This year, the regulator will reduce the maximum stake on some fixed-odd betting machines from 100 pounds to just 2 pounds.
The Commission suggests that even lower-stake machines pose a risk. Therefore, it wants to listen to the industry about its efforts to protect players using methods such as time-tracking and monetary limits. Paul Hope, the executive director of the commission, said that they are seeking opinions from consumers, gambling operators and other interested parties to help make gambling safer.
The Commission’s hawkish stance has already led the stocks of gambling companies to fall on Thursday. GVC Holdings PLC, William Hill PLC, and Paddy Power Betfair PLC were all affected. However, it was 888 Holdings PLC which was the hardest hit with a 2.9% downfall. William Hill’s stock went down by 1.9%, Paddy Power lost 1.5%, and GVC Holdings’ shares traded 0.7% lower.