The simple answer is…No.
You can not use a credit card or any form of credit to make any deposits in online bingo, i-gaming or on sports betting.
As of 14th April 2020, in relation to all on-line and off-line gambling opportunities, the use of any form of credit has been removed from deposit payment options. This move, has been facilitated by the UK Gambling Commission in response to the government review on Gaming Machines and Social Responsibility Measures.
Why Can’t You Play Bingo Using A Credit Card?
Responsible Gambling is at the forefront of the online betting and gambling industry right now and certainly will continue to be a resounding message for months and years to come.
A research project carried out by the Gambling Commission during March 2019 identified from a random sample of 2000 online gamblers, around 150 of those were, at that time or had recently used a form of credit to make an online gambling deposit. That equates to 22% of online gamblers. The Gambling Commission believes this 22% of players are problem gamblers or could be embarking on the slippery slope of problem gambling.
Removing Credit Card Provides Safety Buffer
By removing the credit card deposit facility, online bingo websites are providing a strong buffer and additional layer of player safety with the expectation it will reduce problem gambling and gambling harms.
Neil McArthur, Gambling Commission chief executive, said:
“Credit card gambling can lead to significant financial harm. The ban that we have announced today should minimise the risks of harm to consumers from gambling with money they do not have.
‘“We also know that there are examples of consumers who have accumulated tens of thousands of pounds of debt through gambling because of credit card availability. There is also evidence that the fees charged by credit cards can exacerbate the situation because the consumer can try to chase losses to a greater extent.”
A Move To Reduce Gambling Harms
The move was made not just to reduce the harms when making deposits on online gambling websites, yet also in recognition of the high fees credit card companies were charging when users were in effect making a cash advance when using their credit card to make an online gambling deposits.
Unlike making purchases like a holiday on a credit card, credit card providers see gambling transactions as ‘cash advances’ and not purchases. They would charge a percentage fee on any cash advance transaction, similarly to withdrawing money using a credit card from the hole in the wall. Credit card users would also fall into the interest trap with interest rates as high as up to 34.95% p.a. being charged from the moment the deposit / cash advance was requested, even if the credit card had an interest free period.
Penalising Responsible Gamblers: Operators Perspective
There are of millions of people in the UK that do gamble responsibly. The will also of course be a fair number of players that have used credit cards to make online gambling deposits for ease and convenience, knowing they will have the funds to clear their credit card balance and are totally in control of their financial limits.
The protection for people playing with borrowed money or money they don’t actually have is a move to ensure the industry is keeping up with making this part of society safer for all.
As part of the Gambling Commission consultation on Changes to licence conditions and codes of practice on the use of credit cards for gambling, almost all of the respondents that had wracked up credit card bills stated that their gambling addiction would not have been as extreme as it was had they have not had the credit card deposit facility.
Conversely, gambling operators that participated in the consultation opposed the credit card ban arguing that there are many other factors that can lead players to be problem gamblers and the ban penalises those that play responsibly and problem gamblers would simply turn to other methods of gaining funds such as online pay days loans, however they did state, credit card deposits were identified at
Can You Use A Credit Card For Any Gambling?
There are actually two types of gambling products you can still purchase using a credit card. These are National Lottery tickets and scratch cards. The reason for this is very often these items are purchased from a supermarket or newsagents as part of a wider shop. However many larger supermarkets have been known decline the use of credit cards when National Lottery and scratch cards are purchased alone.
The National Lottery ensures all of its retailers receive training in being able to identify problem gamblers that are purchasing excessive amounts of lottery tickets or scratch cards. The UK Gambling Commission recognises it is harder for high street and supermarket retailers to vet these purchases and do not see this as a prevalent issue in relation to problem gambling or addiction.
You can’t however purchase your National Lottery tickets via the National Lottery website using a credit card.
Can I Use A Credit Card Via An E-Wallet?
Again, the simple answer is No. This potential loophole was firmly slammed shut at the same time as the credit card ban.
The UK Gambling Commission also extended the credit card ban to E-Wallets or any Money Service Businesses (MSBs) as well as direct deposits on online bingo and other online gambling sites.
E-Wallet providers must now ensure that if customers are using a credit card to upload a deposit into their E-Wallet (which can be used to purchase pretty much anything online), these funds can not be used for any gambling website. A firewall or rejection message must be in place for the E-Wallet operator when customers attempt to use the E-Wallet with an gambling operator in order to be compliant with the new law.
What Can I Use Instead Of A Credit Card?
Despite the credit card ban, there are still loads of deposit options that you can choose from that are fast and reliable. These options are safe, follow gambling operator legislation on responsible gambling and depending on your preferences can suit your deposit needs and requirements.
The most well known option to make deposits with your own money is a Debit Card. The most well know debit cards issued by banks are VISA and Mastercard. Debit Cards are by far the most popular used when making online bingo deposits or all types of online gambling deposits. When opening an account a Debit Card is required as part of the identification checking process.
There are typically never any fees when depositing or withdrawing funds using a debit card and is often one of the fastest methods for both transactions. They provide great flexibility on the amount you wish to deposit whereas other payment methods have higher minimum or maximum deposit limits. Debit cards, being linked to your personal bank account allow you to keep track of your spending, itemising transactions made to online bingo companies.
If you haven’t heard of PayPal, where have you been for the last 20 years!? PayPal is most famous for its use when buying and selling on eBay. PayPal Users have the security of transferring money online without having to use bank or debit card details.
PayPal state they have the highest level of customer data protection security therefore greatly reducing the chances of your personal information going astray. PayPal hold your financial information, not the online bingo site. Some players like this level of personal financial detail security. Do check the bingo operators terms and conditions on using PayPal when using a welcome bonus as sometimes the initial deposit needs to be made using a debit card.
Do be aware, that it is free to deposit using PayPal, however charges do apply when you wish to withdraw funds from your PayPal account.
Skrill, Neteller And Other E-Wallets
There are a number of E-Wallets available to use when depositing on online bingo. If you already have a PayPal account or you may wish to keep your online bingo deposits separate to other purchases or spending, you may want to use an E-Wallet.
You deposit funds into your E-Wallet without having to share your financial information with the online bingo operator, knowing they have the most high tech security systems in place to keep your information secure.
Your bank account will simply show a transaction made to the E-Wallet company, without any details of the online bingo operator. E-Wallets do come with deposit and withdrawal charges so do check these with each online bingo operator.
Pay By Phone Bill
This is the only method you can use without having to share any financial details (other than those already shared with your mobile phone provider) with anyone. You can make a deposit linked to your monthly mobile phone contract which you can then settle at the time you pay your phone bill or you can use pre paid, pay as you go credit to make an online bingo deposit.
There are maximum daily and monthly deposit limits you can make using Pay By Phone, however the process is the easiest without having to remember financial details or passwords.
It is worth noting that the Pay By Phone option is currently being heavily scrutinised. If you are using your mobile phone contract and every month you are adding up to a couple of hundred pounds to it via online bingo deposits, that you do not need to settle until the phone bill arrives, that really could be seen as gambling with credit.
We think this function could be phased out over the coming months as it can be seen as a gambling harm loophole.