Credit Cards Banned for UK Bingo?

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If you use a credit card to put funds into your favourite UK bingo site account, those days could soon come to an end. The UK Gambling Commission is currently looking at the idea of prohibiting credit cards as a method for depositing at bingo sites. We thought we’d find out why and whether it is a good idea.

Is this a positive step to take?

We think so, and for two very good reasons:

  1. If you deposit using a credit card, you’re borrowing money to fund your account – credit is just that, so you’re risking not being able to repay the loan
  2. Regardless of whether you use one or more credit cards, it’s very easy to get into debt while feeding a gambling habit – instead of funding your account using cash debited from an account held elsewhere, you’re borrowing money to do it

It makes sense to remove the temptation some players might have to get money into their accounts by using a method that makes it far easier to get into serious debt. There are lots of credit card alternatives available, so versatile banking is still possible at bingo sites.

How do the best online bingo sites help prevent problem gambling?

You’ll notice every good bingo site has implemented various measures to support those who may experience issues with gambling. They provide support links to enable people to contact them if they feel they are in trouble.

  1. They offer information on responsible gambling – you’ll a page packed with details on the topic on all reputable UK bingo sites
  2. Limiting deposit amounts and options – fewer methods can be used to deposit with, and those that are available may limit the deposit amount
  3. Self-exclusion – this is a way of banning yourself from using the bingo site. They won’t contact you and your login information won’t work during the exclusion period
  4. Advice on parental controls – if you are concerned about underage children trying to access bingo sites, you can follow the info these sites give you on how to install parental controls

Are the bingo sites responsible… or the bingo players?

Gambling addiction is real. While most players know how to restrict themselves and have no problem playing for a while and then stopping, some are prone to getting into trouble. One woman racked up an incredible £100k of debt spread over nine credit cards in just 48 hours.

Credit card gambling is a real issue for some, and we think if the bingo sites can help prevent this, they have a responsibility to do so.

What do politicians think?

We’ve had soundbites from two sources:

  • Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright said the government is going to ‘take action’ when the UKGC has completed its research into the issue of credit card use
  • Shadow deputy leader Tom Watson of the Labour Party said the operators involved in the case mentioned above had exhibited ‘disgraceful conduct’, yet didn’t mention the responsibilities of the woman involved

Responsible gambling is surely the responsibility of both sides of the equation. We should take responsibility for our own problems and seek help if we recognize we might have an issue. That said, we think bingo sites should also watch for potential problem behaviour and do something if they spot it.

Which other payment methods can you use at UK bingo sites?

There are some great ones to choose from:

  • Pay by phone – perfect for those on mobile sites, this is available for deposits only and means you can add the amount to your next mobile phone bill
  • E-wallet – typically linked to a bank account, the most popular ones include PayPal
  • E-voucher –  a method whereby you can safely buy a voucher and then use it to deposit at your favourite bingo site

Looking towards a safer future

We’ll probably never eradicate problem gambling, but this move by the UKGC shows they are intent on making it as difficult as possible for people to get in trouble. Reputable UK bingo sites are likely to welcome the change if it goes ahead and credit card payments are indeed banned. Watch this space.

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