Our resident reviewer discusses the changes to how you can fund your online casino account in the UK
After the 14th April 2020, online casinos, physical casinos, bookmakers, and any retail gambling outfit that’s registered with the UK Gambling Commission is no longer allowed to accept credit cards as a payment method.
If you’ve been used to reaching for the Mastercard or Visa credit card when you fancy a flutter, you’ll have to change your ways going forward.
Why the change?
A lot of people are assuming this is a result of the lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic, but that’s actually not the case. The measures were announced in January, well before lockdown here, and change has been on the cards – ouch, sorry! – since March 2018.
The UK government and the Gambling Commission released reports at this time that showed a worryingly high percentage of problem gamblers were funding their addiction using credit. It was felt that a good way to prevent these people from getting into financial difficulty was to stop anyone from betting using credit cards.
Online casino credit card impact
I think we can all agree that we should all help anyone who has any form of unhealthy addiction, but I’ve had quite a few emails from people who were happy recreational gamblers who used credit cards responsibly who are understandably a bit angry about this.
Well, I’ve taken a good look at how this has panned out in the weeks since the new measures went live, and I don’t think this is a negative thing for us at all. The great news is there has never been more choice when it comes to opening and funding an online casino account, with lots of secure and easy services you can use.
One thing people often didn’t realise is that credit card companies used to treat gambling transaction as cash, not as a purchase. That means that you would often be charged a transaction fee, and you would rack up interest on your gambling from day one. Even if you won big a few days later you’d still end up paying some interest to the card company for the privilege of having the money for a short time.
Switch to funding your gaming fun with a debit card and you’ll pay no additional fees and no interest. This has the added advantage that winnings that get loaded back on to your debit card go straight into your bank account. It’s much easier to get at your hard-won cash this way than if winnings to back onto a credit card account.
Overseas online casinos for credit cards?
Yes, if you like in the UK there is absolutely nothing stopping you using a foreign-registered casino that accepts UK players and then depositing with your favourite credit card. Operating under less strict rules than UK casinos, overseas casinos don’t have to undertake verification checks and accept the full range of payment options.
But there’s a potential downside. Any casino that’s not as heavily regulated as here in the UK is potentially putting your deposit or any winnings at risk. They may not have to apply any financial standards to their operation, including ensuring they have enough money to pay out all possible winnings. If you have a complaint or grievance, there may be no overseeing body to take your case to. There are some high-quality offshore casinos out there, but I recommend you read reviews carefully and choose wisely if you’re going down this route.
E-Wallets and Paypal casinos
Aha! I hear you cry. What if I top up my Paypal, Skrill or Neteller account with my credit card and then load up my casino account? Well, you can’t! E-wallets that are linked to credit cards are also banned from being used in UK casinos.
You can still use e-wallets but you’ll have to link them to your debit card or bank account. You still get the same benefits – privacy, simplicity convenience – and you’ll actually save yourself some money by funding via debit card as I said above.
Credit card slots
Yes, lots of us enjoy a little flutter on casino slots, and many of us will have reached for our credit card to load up our account with a tenner or so to have an enjoyable time on the latest games. But just as with all other casino games, online or real, you can’t use a credit card to load your account any more.
I think this is all a good thing, though. Don’t forget, the reason why we enjoy online slots and table games so much is that they are fun and easy to play. Put yourself into the shoes of someone with a gambling addiction problem and you can see how it would be easy for them to rack up thousands in credit card debt if they didn’t have enough in their bank account to keep playing.
One happy outcome from the UK ban on credit cards in casinos is that many of the best UK registered online casinos are now offering some of the best signup and loyalty bonuses we’ve ever seen in the industry.
This means that the vast majority of us are only a little bit inconvenienced, and the most vulnerable are protected from getting themselves into even more trouble, and everyone is getting the best casino bonuses in years.
Using a debit card is just as convenient as a credit card casino transaction and in most cases, it’s actually cheaper. Read our casino reviews and our regular features where we hunt out the best bonuses and free spins deals out there, grab your debit card, and have some fun!
Jack Carter, 43
Co-Founder, Casino News Editor and Reviewer
Jack Carter has decades of experience in management for some of the UK’s largest casino groups. Starting out as a graduate trainee for Grosvenor Casinos, Jack worked his way up through the ranks within Gala Coral and had stints with overseas casino operators…