Poll Reveals Support for Banning Credit Cards in Gambling

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Advika Kochar

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You would be hard pressed to find an online casino or sports betting site that does not accept major credit cards as a payment method. Credit cards like Visa, Mastercard and Maestro usually top the list of the preferred ways to make deposits and withdrawals online. Convenience is a big contributor to this popularity – most people already have a credit card – and the speed of transactions it also appealing.

However, it seems like attitudes towards credit cards as payment methods at online casinos might be changing. There are growing concerns that allowing the use of credit to fund gambling activities might be doing more harm than good and one poll shows that the majority of adults in the United Kingdom favour an outright ban on credit cards in online gambling.

Gambling and credit cards

It is estimated that some £8.6 billion are deposited into online casino accounts through credit cards per year. Concerns have been raised about how easy it is for gamblers to spend money that they are, in reality, borrowing from creditors.

It’s no secret that the majority of wagers end in loss so these concerns are not unfounded – having an easily accessible line of credit can put players at risk of overspending should they be unable to get a handle on their gambling. Racking up gambling-related credit card debt is a situation everyone from players to regulators to operators wants to avoid.

There have been some political rumblings over the issue, most recently from the Liberal Democrats, who have promised to implement an outright ban on the use of credit cards in gambling should they win a majority in the next general election.

Poll Reveals Support for Banning Credit Cards in Gambling element01 - CasinoTopSurvey sheds light on public opinion

A recent poll, held in November 2019, asked 2,000 adults in the UK how they felt about the use of credit cards to fund gambling activities. The poll comes in the wake of a report issued by the UK Gambling Commission on safety in the gambling market where the use of credit cards came under scrutiny. At present, about a fifth of all deposits into online casino accounts are made using credit i.e. money that the customer does not own themselves.

The survey asked participants whether they agree or disagree with banning the use of credit cards as deposit methods at online gambling sites, and to identify how strongly they hold that opinion. 21.05% of respondents said that they somewhat agreed with a ban but a much larger proportion – 55.65% – felt that they strongly agreed with a complete ban on the practice. Put together, that’s 76.6% of respondents who felt, to some degree, that online gambling and credit cards should not mix.

This was by no means a one-sided group of participants though. On the other end of the scale, 3.4% strongly disagreed with a ban on credit cards and 4.05% said that they somewhat disagreed with a ban.

The highest support for retaining the status quo in terms of credit card payments came from the 35 to 44 age group, with 10.94% of respondents saying they did not support a prohibition. On the other hand, only 5.24% of the 18-24 age bracket disagreed. The middle ground was occupied by 15.85% of participants, who said they neither agreed nor disagreed with a ban.

An interesting split occurred along the lines of gender. 79.32% of female respondents agreed or strongly agreed with a credit card ban whereas 73.92% of participating men felt the same way. Women, it turns out, are more likely to be in favour of prohibiting gambling with credit.

The results also show how the participants’ ages might influence their opinions on the matter. 80% of participants who were aged 55 or over expressed agreement or strong agreement with prohibiting the practice. The lowest support for a ban came from those between 25 and 34 years of age, with 73.1%.

Poll Reveals Support for Banning Credit Cards in Gambling element02 - CasinoTopGeography seems to play a part as well. The highest support for a ban came from the North East region of the country, with 64.56% coming out in favour of a full ban. It is worth noting that in a report issued by the Office of National Statistics in 2018, the North East had the highest rates of gambling in the UK.

Only 5.52% of participants based in the West Midlands said that they were against a ban and this region was the source of the largest opposition. Interestingly, 25% of participants who call Scotland home said that they neither disagree nor agree with a ban.

What can these numbers mean?

There is no doubt that, in the UK at least, gambling is a beloved pastime that many enjoy without any risk or problematic behaviour. However, the online gambling and sports betting industry shows no sign of slowing down, at least in the amount of revenues it brings in yearly, leading us to infer that more and more people are becoming interested in the activity.

Despite the best efforts of gambling regulators and legislators, as more individuals are exposed to the world of gambling, so too does the risk of falling into bad habits. The majority of respondents in the survey expressed support for a ban on credit cards to fund gambling and this indicates a growing concern about protecting players from harmful activity.

Advika Kochar
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  • Advika Kochar
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  • Last modified: December 15, 2019