GC clarifies scope of credit card gambling ban

29 January 2020

The Gambling Commission of Great Britain has explained how its ban on gambling with credit cards will affect remote lotteries, as well as confirming that the prohibition will extend to the use of credit cards to fund e-wallets.

The ban will affect wallets such as PayPal, with the Commission noting that the providers will be able to put measures into effect to prevent credit card payments for gambling.

However, it added, gambling operators will ultimately be responsible for only accepting e-wallet payments where it is satisfied that the provider will take action to prevent payments by credit card once the ban comes into force on 14 April.

Much of the onus will fall on operators, such as by using a card’s Issuer Identification Number (IIN) to verify whether a card is credit, debit or prepaid, and have these transactions blocked by the payment processor or acquirer.

The prohibition covers online gambling and retail betting, with credit card betting in land-based casinos and gaming halls already banned. The Gambling Commission explained that this includes remote society lottery, remote ancillary lottery and remote external lottery manager (ELM) licensees as well.

In practice, the Commission said, this means that all of these licence holders will not be able to accept any form of payment that uses a credit card, including for subscription services. Customers that use credit to pay for any sort of lottery subscription service will have to select an alternative payment method for these offerings.

However, it added, non-remote society lottery and non-remote external lottery manager (ELM) licensees will not be subject to a ban. This means they will still be able to purchase society lottery tickets by credit card in retail outlets, or via door-to-door sales.

Announced alongside the credit card ban was the news that the national self-exclusion system Gamstop must be offered by all remote gaming licensees from 31 March. For lottery operators, this will only apply to those that offer online instant win games (IWGs), and only in relation to these products, meaning operators will not be required to block access to draw-based games.

“It is only operators that are offering online IWGs that need to participate in Gamstop,” the regulator said. “The sale of physical tickets via remote means is not included in the code provision for online multi-operator self-exclusion.”