The Gambling Commission has today announced the outcome of the consultation into the use of credit cards in gambling, including lotteries.
While we won the argument about non-remote lotteries, for which credit cards can continue to be accepted, the Commission have chosen to ignore the argument that banning the use of credit cards for remote lotteries was excessive in view of the low level of risk involved. From 14 April 2020, therefore, all operators of remote lotteries will not be able to accept payment by credit card, including payments by credit card through PayPal and other e-wallet providers.
Further details can be found at https://www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk/news-action-and-statistics/News/gambling-on-credit-cards-to-be-banned-from-april-2020.
The Commission have stated: “We acknowledge the consultation responses from the lotteries sector which generally argued that subscription and lower frequency lotteries do not have the same potential rates of loss as other forms of gambling, and that society lotteries are associated with lower incidences of harm.
However, our key concern is that gambling with a credit card can facilitate high levels of gambling debt, and for people at risk of harm this could be a cumulative gambling debt across a number of operators and types of gambling. We note from our research that those who use credit cards for online gambling tend to be highly engaged gamblers who gamble on several different activities - and that while online betting and gaming are the most prevalent forms of gambling activity for them, they are more likely to participate in a full range of gambling opportunities including gaming machines and online lottery participation. Therefore, individuals who are at the greatest risk of harm from credit card gambling may be using their cards across multiple gambling platforms – and accruing more debt than they can afford to repay – across a range of operators and products including lotteries.
In order to minimise the risks of harm to those credit cards gamblers and their families, we have therefore decided to include remote lotteries as part of the ban on credit cards alongside other forms of gambling.”
The ban on accepting credit card payments for gambling, including remote payments for lottery participation, will come into effect three months from today, on 14 April. This means that remote society lottery, ancillary lottery and remote ELM licensees will not be able to accept credit card payments – e.g. where payments are made online or via telephone – from this date.
One means of preventing credit card payments is for operators – or their payment processors or acquiring bank – to identify credit cards via the card’s Issuer Identification Number (the IIN, which is the first 6 to 9 digits of the number across the front of a card and which allows the merchant or acquirer to identity whether a card is credit, debit or pre-paid, and to identify the issuing bank). The payment processor or acquirer, on the operator’s (merchant’s) request, could then ensure that any card identified as a credit card is prevented from moving through the payment gateway. Some operators may be able to put this system into effect at their end of the payment gateway without the need to ask their processor/acquirer. However, where this is not the case, we would suggest that societies contact their payment processor or their acquiring bank to understand how they could prevent credit card payments.
The ban will also apply to credit card payments made through e-wallets. The Commission has been advised that that the major wallet providers such as PayPal will be able to put measures into effect to prevent credit card payments for gambling. Operators will be responsible for only accepting payments through an e-wallet where the operator can be assured by the wallet provider that it can prevent gambling payments by credit card. We therefore suggest that members also contact any e-wallet providers whose wallets they make available to their customers for online lottery ticket purchases, to ensure they understand how the wallet provider intends to proceed.
The Commission have clarified their announcement about GAMSTOP. All operators of online instant win lotteries must participate in the GAMSTOP self-exclusion scheme. Further details can be found at https://www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk/news-action-and-statistics/news/2020/Online-operators-required-to-participate-in-multi-operator-self-exclusion-scheme-GAMSTOP-from-March.aspx.