Regulator bans punters from using credit cards for online gambling

  • Video report by ITV News Consumer Editor Chris Choi

Punters will no longer be able to use their credit cards to place bets online after a major shake-up of rules announced by the industry regulator.

From April 14, people wanting to place bets online will have to do so by using either a debit card or through cash deposited into an account.

The credit card ban affects all gambling, with the exception of the National Lottery, the Gambling Commission said.

It follows concerted efforts by the Government to address the issue of problem gambling.

Neil McArthur, Gambling Commission chief executive, said: “Credit card gambling can lead to significant financial harm.

“The ban that we have announced today should minimise the risks of harm to consumers from gambling with money they do not have.”

Being a compulsive gambler can harm your health and relationships. Credit: PA

Asked by ITV News Consumer Editor Chris Choi about the underlying causes of problem gambling - such as widespread advertisement from betting companies - Minister for Arts, Heritage and Tourism Helen Whately said there will be a review into the Gambling Act.

"So this is a very specific, practical step that we've got on with, we've done the research, we've seen the evidence and the evidence tells us this is something we should act on," she said.

"There are a whole load of bigger questions about advertising, sponsorship, online gambling... the world of gambling has changed since the Gambling Act so we are going to be launching a review of the Gambling Act that was committed to in our manifesto."

30,000 people phone the gambling helpline a year and £14.5 billion pounds a year is gambled.

Asked if this is not evidence enough to employ reforms without review, Ms Whately said: "I general, Government policy is best made on the basis of evidence rather than just reacting to the headlines."

She added there are 14 national gambling clinics being launched and that "we're beefing up the help there is for people".

What help is available for those suffering from gambling addiction?

Being a compulsive gambler can harm your health and relationships, and leave you in serious debt.

If you have a problem with gambling and you'd like to stop, support and treatment is available, according to the NHS.

There are also treatment and support groups available for people who want to stop gambling, including:

  • GamCare offers free information, support and counselling for problem gamblers in the UK. It runs the National Gambling Helpline (0808 8020 133) and also offers face-to-face counselling.

  • National Problem Gambling Clinic. If you live in England or Wales, are aged 16 or over and have complex problems related to gambling, you can refer yourself to this specialist NHS clinic for problem gamblers. See if you meet the criteria for this service.

  • The Gordon Moody Association offers residential courses for men and women who have problems with gambling – email or call 01384 241292 to find out more.

  • It also runs the Gambling Therapy website, which offers online support to problem gamblers and their friends and family.

  • Gamblers Anonymous UK runs local support groups that use the same 12-step approach to recovery from addiction as Alcoholics Anonymous. There are also GamAnon support groups for friends and family.