The UK Gambling Commission is mulling a ban on credit cards for use as a deposit method for online gambling, as per a new online gambling review, published Monday.

UKGC online gambling credit cards ban

Declined: Credit cards could soon be off limits as a deposit method for online gambling operators serving the UK market. The proposal is included in a new report that predicts huge growth for online gambling over the next few years. (Image: The Telegraph)

The regulator says it plans a new consumer protection drive, aimed at making online gambling “safer than ever before.”

“We will consider prohibiting or restricting the use of credit cards and the offering of credit but will explore the consequences of doing so. For example, the danger of some consumers switching to more risky and higher cost payment methods such as payday loans,” the UKGC said in the report.

Online Gambling Profits Up 10 Percent Last Year

Other recommendations include banning operators from providing free-to-play demo games until a consumer has passed an age verification test, as well as improving the speed and effectiveness of the age verification process itself.

The UKGC also said it wanted to ensure operators set limits on customer spending until full affordability tests had been carried out and emphasized that operators must do more to intervene to protect customers who are at risk of experiencing problems.

The report notes that participation in online gambling had increased, as had industry profit – by a full ten percent to £4.7 billion in 2017. Meanwhile, in mid-2017 Brits collectively owned more than 23 million active online gambling accounts, which equates to approximately seven million individual consumers, according to the UKGC.

More Growth Expected

That figure is only likely to grow, driven by new trends on technology, it added.

“It is highly likely that the online gambling industry will continue to grow,” says the report. “It appears set to increase from the current 34% to 50% of the total British market by GGY over the next few years. In addition to consumer behaviour and technological factors, this growth will be driven by attracting new groups of consumers and by increased product personalisation.

“New consumers may come from the convergence of gaming (computer games) and traditional gambling through eSports and gambling-style online games. This development is far from certain, but there are potential risks associated with it. Our research into these areas and monitoring of issues such as virtual currencies, eSports and social gambling will continue.”

UKGC chief Neil McArthur said: “The proposals we have announced today are intended to protect children better, reduce the risks to vulnerable consumers, and build on the measures we already impose on operators to know their customers and intervene at an earlier stage before consumers experience harm.”