About a year after the use of credit cards for gambling transactions was made illegal in the UK, Paddy Power became the first betting company that ceased accepting credit card bets from its Irish customers. In an email to its users, on April 1st, the bookmaker informed them that it had made the decision to stop accepting bets funded with credit card transactions as part of the company’s commitment to stick to safer gambling.
For the time being, none of the other top gambling companies has implemented similar measures.
Debit card transactions to fund online gambling accounts are still available with Paddy Power.
The Irish Government has included the consideration of legislation aimed at suspending the practice across the country in its agenda, but such a measure is not likely to come into effect until the beginning of 2023. The 2013 Gambling Control Bill that was originally sponsored by Alan Shatter, did not mention credit card transactions in gambling, which is normal considering the fact that it had so far progressed extremely slow through the Oireachtas. The Irish Government is expected to publish the objectives of the new gambling bill this summer.
Campaigners Note That Credit Card Gambling Is Dangerous to Consumers
As reported by The Times, the junior minister in the Department of Justice and Equality in Ireland who is part of the team responsible for the reform of the gambling law – James Browne – said that credit card gambling is set to be brought to an end. He further noted that the practice should have been ended by now but when it finally happens, it would either be done with a special part in the legislation, or the new gambling regulatory body that is set to be created will be empowered to put it to an end.
According to Mr Browne, the office of the new gambling watchdog will be up and running before the new Gambling Act manages to pass all of the required stages in the Irish Legislature.
As Casino Guardian has previously reported, the establishment of an independent gambling watchdog is one of the most important changes that have been on the agenda of several governments and lobby groups since the general election in 2007. Junior Minister Browne has shared expectations that the position would be filled before the end of 2021.
For years, campaigners have been warning about the dangers associated with the use of credit cards to pay for gambling transactions. According to research carried out by the major gambling regulator in the UK – the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) – and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCSM), about 800,000 individuals in the UK used credit cards to fund their betting transactions before the new rules were implemented in April 2020. Figures have shown that more than one-fifth of these people could be categorised as gambling addicts, and even more were suffering some kind of gambling-related harm.