Gambling on credit cards could be banned in overhaul of betting

Industry watchdog to call for evidence on move that would affect billions of pounds of bets a year

The government is considering banning the use of credit cards in gambling – a move that would affect billions of pounds worth of bets a year.

The culture secretary, Jeremy Wright, said he would haul bookmakers and major retail banks into meetings to discuss concerns that up to 20% of deposits with some gambling firms are made using money that consumers do not actually have.

The industry regulator, the Gambling Commission, will launch a call for evidence on the matter in February, adding that regulation could follow.

The move is part of a broader crackdown that will also lead to the government seeking to address slow progress on self-exclusion schemes, which are designed to help addicts opt out of betting.

“Gambling operators must step in and act when people are showing signs of risky gambling. Their licences are at risk if they do not,” Wright said.

He welcomed moves by high-street banks, including Barclays, Lloyds, Santander and the Royal Bank of Scotland, to allow customers to switch off spending on gambling through their mobile apps.

However, he said: “We should also ask if it is right that people should be able to gamble on credit and this is an area that the Gambling Commission are going to look into.”

Labour has previously said it would ban gambling with credit cards.

A spokesman for the Gambling Commission said: “In our online review last year we said we will consider prohibiting or restricting the use of credit cards and will explore the consequences of doing so.”

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