Citizens Advice Response to the Gambling Commission’s Call for Evidence: Gambling with Credit
Citizens Advice has used its previous research and new internal data to provide a response to the Gambling Commission’s call for evidence about the use of credit cards for online gambling.
The Responsible Gambling Strategy Board (RGSB) advised the Gambling Commission that the use of credit cards for online gambling online should be banned. This is based on the key principle that “gambling with borrowed money significantly increases the risk that consumers will gamble with more money than they can afford.” In response, the Gambling Commission has put out a call for evidence to establish the scale of the problem and explore possible consequences of the ban.
Citizens Advice supports the ban on credit cards for online gambling. We believe gambling with credit cards can cause devastating effects for both the gambler, and their families, friends and co-workers.
Our clients’ stories show the type of life-changing effects that problem gambling with credit can cause. When a person uses credit to gamble beyond their financial means, they increase their chances of getting into serious debt and experiencing mental health problems. We have also seen gambling with credit lead to financial abuse, as people can take out credit in someone else’s name. This damages relationships and leads to even more people falling into debt.
75% of the gambling cases that Citizens Advice helped with last year included issues about debt. Banning credit cards for online gambling would play an important part in reducing this debt for our clients and prevent indirect harm.
However, we recognise that banning credit cards could risk people turning to higher cost forms of credit, such as payday loans to fund their online gambling. Yet, we think the additional difficulty of accessing credit to gamble online, by blocking the use of credit cards, will on balance decrease the problems associated with online gambling.