Why Brits prefer to pay by credit card in casinos

In recent years, the UK government has made significant progress in banning the use of credit cards to fund online/retail gambling accounts. They did this on the premise that blocking credit card use would help prevent problem gamblers from putting themselves too far into debt.

While there is very little evidence that this will work with highly motivated online gamblers, using credit cards is now and probably always will be their favorite way to fund their gambling activities. It begs the question, “why do Brits prefer to pay with credit cards in casinos (online and retail)?”

The benefits of using credit cards to fund gambling activities

When a large group of people show a strong preference for something, there are usually good reasons for that preference. For more than two decades, UK gamblers have shown a strong preference for using credit cards in retail casinos and particularly online gambling. Why is that?

Here is a list of reasons: gamblers prefer credit cards as a financing option for their gambling activities:

  • They can gamble with money they don’t actually own and pay that money back at a later date
  • Helps them keep track of their wins and losses
  • It is the most popular option for online gambling, sometimes the only option available
  • Credit cards are available at casinos with no GamStop restrictions, which is why players prefer to use these sites due to the credit card ban in the UK. Non-GamStop Sites will never be part of this scheme.

The most worrisome reason on this list is the first. If a gambler really wants to gamble but doesn’t have the money to do so, credit cards will give him immediate access to the money he needs. It’s all good if the gambler wins and immediately pays off his credit card balance. Unfortunately, losses eventually turn into debt when the unlucky gambler is unable to repay the loan amount. More about this below.

It is the last reason on this list that talks about the growth of the online gambling industry. When a UK gambler wants to gamble online, they must first figure out how to deposit money into their online gambling account(s). While the options may vary from betting site to betting site, credit card deposits/withdrawals are currently universal. Virtually every online gambling site in every country where online operators are allowed to operate will conduct business through credit cards. Convenience is always a big motivator to choose one option over the other.

Reasons not to use credit cards for gambling

At first glance, using credit cards for gambling activities seems easy and convenient. Unfortunately, there are some drawbacks to using this option.

First and foremost, retail and online casinos typically charge significant transaction fees for credit card transactions. Also, credit card companies will typically charge high fees for cash withdrawals at retail locations. If a gambler makes regular credit card transactions to support his gambling, the excessive charges can quickly add up.

The other negative of using credit cards is the accumulation of debt. Where most gambling problems begin is when gamblers rely too much on credit cards to gamble. If they can’t or can’t repay their fees, the debt piles up at interest rates that are generally excessive and predatory. What happens if a problem gambler starts building up too much gambling debt? They hunt for losses, often leading to more debt until the bubble bursts.

It is the potential gambling problems that have led the UK government to launch a vigorous campaign to prevent gamblers from using credit cards on gambling sites. The potential for problematic gambling problems has also led to the creation of the UK Gambling Commission’s online self-exclusion program, GamStop.

While GamStop works well for problem gamblers who are determined not to gamble online, it won’t stop them from finding other ways to gamble until the voluntary self-exclusion period ends. GamStop gamblers are the reason so many banned online gamblers try to find credit card casino sites at Casino-Wise.comsite that is not a GamStop member and accepts credit cards.

As of now, the credit card ban is aimed at operators that accept credit card transactions. To date, enforcement seems to be failing, as evidenced by the fact that so many online gambling sites still accept credit cards.

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