Europe

UK bans using credit cards to gamble amid 'clear evidence of harm'

The UK is taking new steps to curb problem gambling. Source: AAP

Gamblers in Britain will not be able to use credit cards to gamble from 14 April.

Britain's estimated 24 million gamblers will not be able to use credit cards to punt under a new rule designed to prevent consumers from building up too much debt.

The Gambling Commission announced the ban on Tuesday, saying it will apply to all online and offline gambling products apart from "non-remote lotteries" - lotteries where payment is made face-to-face.

Research by the commission found 22 per cent of online gamblers who used credit cards were "problem gamblers", with "even more at some risk of harm".

The ban, which comes into effect on 14 April, is intended to "provide a significant layer of additional protection to vulnerable people".

Gambling Commission chief executive Neil McArthur said, "credit card gambling can lead to significant financial harm".

Credit card gambling can lead to significant financial harm

Neil McArthur 

"The ban that we have announced today should minimise the risks of harm to consumers from gambling with money they do not have," Mr McArthur said in a statement.

He said around the UK, "there are examples of consumers who have accumulated tens of thousands of pounds of debt through gambling because of credit card availability".

Culture Minister Helen Whately said, "whilst millions gamble responsibly, I have also met people whose lives have been turned upside down by gambling addiction".

"There is clear evidence of harm from consumers betting with money they do not have, so it is absolutely right that we act decisively to protect them," she said.

Additional reporting: AAP

Readers seeking support and information around gambling can contact the Gambling Helpline on 1800 858 858 or the NSW Multicultural Problem Gambling Service on 1800 856 800.

Readers seeking support and information around suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or the Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467. More information about mental health is available at Beyond Blue.

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