If you haven’t already noticed, April 2020 marks the end of the Credit Card as a method of funding gambling, both online and on the high street. Thanks to restrictions brought in by the UK’s Gambling Commission, credit cards cannot be used to gamble (except in the case of non-remote lotteries). Well, here’s something you won’t hear on most online gaming sites, but, bloody-well good! About time!
The Credit Card regulations come into effect on the 14th of April, with some bingo sites already implementing them ahead of the deadline. It’s a move aimed to protect problem gamblers, with large numbers of credit card gamers classed in the ‘at-risk’ group. Access to free and easy credit is abused across many retail sectors and has got many people into financial difficulties. The fact that you can gamble away money you don’t yet have is one of the biggest reasons problem gamblers have used Credit Cards for gaming.
Bingo is about fun, a form of entertainment. It’s not a get-rich-quick scheme, or guaranteed income. You should never be spending money you can’t afford to lose, and sadly, too many people fall into that trap. A night at the bingo should be like a night at the cinema, or a night in the pub. You have your budget, and you stick to it, you spend it entertaining yourself. There’s no reason why the same shouldn’t apply when you play online.
This move has been a long-time coming, anything that enables problem gamblers to spend beyond their capacity. So while many gambling companies will not be happy about this move, from the perspective of protecting players, this is a positive step. Fines have already been levied at gaming companies for not protecting problem gamblers. These new regulations should make it easier for them to stay on the straight and narrow and do their duty of care to customers. In turn, this heightened care for the customer should help to protect them from any more unnecessary fines.
I’ve always complained about the way the industry treats online bingo players, with often predatory terms and conditions and a lack of parity between the experience of rules at retail halls. This latest regulation for me, is one more step in the right direction towards a safer and more sustainable environment for online bingo players, for those of us who enjoy the fun and community of our regular game, and treat it the way we should, as entertainment.