Proponents of a blanket ban on credit cards in the gambling sector are starting to intensify efforts to eliminate the use of them for National Lottery tickets and scratch cards, according to the Daily Mail.
The UK Gambling Commission introduced a ban on credit cards starting April 2020 but made an exception for non-remote lotteries, citing a ‘disproportionate burden on retailers to identify and prevent credit card payments for lottery tickets if they form part of a wider shop’.
However, despite the National Lottery having relatively low levels of problem play (0.9% for draw-based games and 1.4% for scratch cards), campaigners believe more should be done to protect players, with the latest NHS survey revealing 60% of all problem gamblers bet on the National Lottery.
Will Prochaska, campaigner at charity Gamble With Lives, said: “The lottery operator shouldn’t be allowed to circumvent restrictions designed to protect people from gambling with credit cards.
“This is particularly important in relation to instant win games like scratch cards, which we know are addictive and can condition people to be susceptible to even more harmful forms of gambling.”
Speaking to the Daily Mail, Labour MP Kevin Brennan labelled the current framework a ‘mess’. He added: “It is a bit of a farce that you can get round these rules as they stand.”
While the argument against credit cards is not a new one, the impending changing of the guard at the National Lottery has brought the issue into sharper focus.
After winning the fourth licence competition last year, Allwyn will take over from Camelot as operator of the National Lottery from February 2024, and the organisation has already made a number of pledges, including a commitment to slash the price of lottery tickets and distribute more money towards good causes.
With this in mind, Conservative MP Laurence Robertson believes Allwyn’s takeover would be a ‘good time’ to re-evaluate the rules.
“There should be consistent treatment, not special treatment for the National Lottery,” Robertson told the Daily Mail.
“I know money is put to good causes, but it is still money that is lost from being staked.”
Finding support from the operator may be difficult, though, with current incumbents Camelot concerned about its potential impact on good causes.
A Camelot spokesman said: “Asking retailers to identify and separate out credit card payments from other card/mobile banking payments for National Lottery purchases, especially when part of a wider shop, would present considerable logistical challenges to retailers in an already challenging environment – and could have an adverse effect on the vital money that the National Lottery raises for good causes.”
Meanwhile, Allwyn responded: “Allwyn’s goal is to build better lotteries, helping them safely raise more for good causes and the communities in which we operate in line with regulation.
“We are bringing our innovation and expertise in player safety to ensure the continued success of the National Lottery.”