UKGC credit card ban adds complexity for finance sector

Regulatory tightening by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has added an extra layer of complexity to the relationship between the UK finance sector and betting operators. 

FinTech expert Chris Gledhill spoke to PaymentExpert about some of the challenges that could be involved with the implementation of the UKGC’s inbound ban on credit card transactions across all gambling verticals (scheduled – 14 April 2020).  

In its regulatory statement, the UKGC recognised that the ban would be aninconvenience on consumers and banking, however, the Commission underlined the measure was necessary for protecting UK vulnerable players. 

Looking ahead at how the legislation could extend to the finance sector, the Tedx speaker emphasised: “If the implementation falls on the gambling operators then they can block credit cards as a form of payment. If the implementation gets expanded to the finance sector then identifying gambling will be difficult.

“I expect compulsive gamblers will find a way to get around restrictions so it is not reasonable to expect measures to stop gambling using credit card funds altogether. Currently companies in the finance sector are rolling out features like opt-in self-controls on bank account usage for gambling (see” 

He went onto outline the efforts of the burgeoning efforts of banks to help problem gamblers, may not serve to fully satisfy regulators: “I do not know whether the regulators will consider opt-in controls as enough. However there will need to be voices opposing compulsory controls on how citizens spend their money as this is straying into Financial Censorship and infringing on Freedom of Commerce. 

“As a side note, It may be worth reviewing what Australia is doing in this field for benefit claimants.” 

In response to whether cryptocurrency would endure any implications from the regulations, through problem gamblers seeking to circumvent controls, he emphasised that this would likely attract the interest of operators, that inevitably intervene in the event of the market becoming too substantial.