GambleAware Suggests Banning Credit Cards

Last-minute recommendations to government consultation on gambling include a credit card ban and a mandatory levy on operators to fund problem gambling

The Guardian newspaper, which is well known for its strong anti-gambling content, reports that last-minute recommendations to the UK government’s consultative process on gambling include the imposition of a levy on operators to address problem gambling, and a suggestion that a ban on the use of credit cards in gambling could be beneficial.

The consultation period for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) review ended on Tuesday, with the main media attention focussed on the high-profile issue of Fixed Odds Betting Terminal maximum stakes (see previous InfoPowa reports).

The 1 percent mandatory levy recommendation came from the ResPublica thinktank and is supported by the opposition Labour Party; the intention is to bridge the funding gap between the amount spent on problem gambling compared with other forms of addiction.

ResPublica found that the annual spend on problem gambling research, education and treatment in England is only GBP 133 per person, compared with GBP 377 on drug addiction and GBP 385 on alcohol misuse. The thinktank suggested that the levy on operator profits would raise GBP 135 million to bridge the funding gap.

Gambling companies at present pay a voluntary levy of 0.1 percent of revenue, although problem gambling charity GambleAware claims that many firms fail to honour the pledge.

GambleAware and Citizens’ Advice have both joined the ResPublica call for a mandatory levy.

GambleAware suggested a credit card ban in internet betting, claiming that the use of credit cards “significantly increases the risk gamblers will gamble more than they can afford”.

Chief executive Mark Etches also supports a reduction in FOBT maximum stakes, along with a lower frequency between spins on the machines.