Ban on credit card gambling will help to reduce harm, say Christian campaigners

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Christian campaign group CARE has welcomed the Gambling Commission's ban on bets placed using credit cards.

Welcoming the move, CARE's Communications Manager, James Mildred, said it was time for "outdated" gambling laws to be reformed.

He said that the ban on credit card bets was a positive step towards reducing the "significant harm" being caused to gamblers. 

"This is excellent news," he said. 

"When you look at the evidence, it is clear that credit card gambling is causing significant harm.

"This proactive and positive step will go some way to helping reduce these harms.

"We look forward to 2020 being a year of continued progress towards reforming our outdated gambling laws and bringing the betting industry more into line."

The ban is to come into effect on April 14 and follows reviews of the industry by the government and Gambling Commission. 

Research carried out by the commission has found that 22% of online gamblers using credit cards can be classified as problem gamblers, the BBC reports.

Mr Mildred said he wanted to see the reforms go further, though, with a mandatory levy on gambling firms and action to end gambling shirt sponsorship across the professional football leagues. 

"Problem gambling leads to relationship troubles, job losses, family breakdown and in extreme cases, suicide as well," he said.

"The Government has promised a review of the 2005 Gambling Act and we will be making the case then for significant changes to ensure stronger protections for those with gambling addictions."

The Bishop of St Albans, Dr Alan Smith, also welcomed the announcement, saying that it marked a significant step towards reducing the risks to gamblers. 

"For too long people have been vulnerable through gambling with money they don't have, using credit cards, additionally incurring the costs of borrowing alongside any losses," he said. 

"I have been calling for this change as consultation turned into consultation, while gamblers were facing the consequences of delay.

"Putting down a Private Member's Bill in the last Parliament seemed like the last option and I was delighted when both the Government and Labour pledged to deliver a ban on credit card gambling.

"However, this is no more than a tweak to gambling legislation and regulation. Fundamental reform is needed if we are to ever make significant progress for the hundreds of thousands affected by gambling-related harm."