Lib Dems to crackdown on problem gambling with credit card ban

Credit card bans look set to be imposed on betting services as part of a problem gambling crackdown by the Liberal Democrats (Lib Dems) – should the political party win the upcoming UK General Election.

The report, courtesy of i News, states that the Lib Dems are seeking to outlaw the use of credit cards within retail betting shops as well as across online gambling sites. 

Furthermore, the report also outlines future plans which will make it illegal for operators to accept credit card payments for individual bets or accounts.

The proposal was put forward due to the fact that the use of credit cards enables punters to gamble with money they do not actually possess, however, the Lib Dems did clarify that debit cards would still be authorised for betting purposes. 

Layla Moran, the Lib Dems’ spokesperson on culture, told i: “Problem gambling often has a pernicious and incredibly sad impact on the lives of thousands of people up and down our country.

“It is heart-breaking to see many vulnerable people fall further into debt as gambling becomes ever-more consuming. But, as ever with this mean-spirited Government, the Conservatives have neglected the problem.

“They had to be dragged kicking and screaming to support the Lib Dem-led initiative to reduce the maximum stake for FOBTs and have no interest in protecting the vulnerable any further. The Liberal Democrats will take bold and decisive action to tackle problem gambling.”

The move to ban credit cards for the purposes of gambling follows on from the appointment of Mike Dixon as the Chief Executive for the Liberal Democrats, in which he will have control over operations and strategic planning. 

In regards to the combatting of problem behaviors, which the credit card ban is intending to aid, Dixon brings a wealth of experience to the Lib Dems having formerly served as Chief Executive of ‘Addaction’ – a UK-wide support network for people recovering for drug/alcohol addiction and mental health issues.

The proposals to impose the ban come alongside a suggested compulsory levy on gambling firms which would go towards the treatment of problem gambling. The Liberal Democrats have called for an imposition of fresh gambling advertising restrictions, as well as the creation of an independent ombudsman to resolve disputes within the industry. 

This news follows a demand made by the Gambling Related Harm All-Party Parliamentary Group (GRH APPG) in November, which presented a range of recommendations including limits on stakes and prizes plus the ‘urgent’ need to ban credit card usage.

At the time, Vice-Chair of the GRH APPG, Rt Hon Iain Duncan Smith stated: “It is clear from this inquiry that the powers of the Gambling Commission need to be significantly strengthened. For too long, online gambling operators have exploited vulnerable gamblers to little or no retribution from the regulator.

“I therefore urge the Commission to look into this issue in greater depth. It is outrageous that there are not stake limits online, that gamblers are still able to gamble using credit cards online and that operators are able to continue to offer inducements to the vulnerable without proper sanction.”