UK Gamblers Face Restrictions at Online Casinos by Credit
In a new move by Britain’s banking industry,
credit card consumers who wager at online casinos and participate in
Internet gambling and betting will be forced to pay higher credit card
charges and interest rates. Is this discrimination against those bettors
who choose to frequent online casinos? Does entertainment at online
casinos deserve this new added cost? Britain’s banking industry will be
penalizing the growing number of gamblers and frequenters to online
casinos in the country due to the new measures.
The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), for example, has made major changes in
their policies regarding betting at online gambling sites and what they
define as “gambling transactions.” The RBS has 11 million credit card
customers. Egg, which boasts more than 3 million credit card customers,
is also redefining its policies concerning gambling at online casinos.
The RBS and Egg’s new policies concerning online casinos will mean that
anyone who uses their credit card to gamble at online casinos will be
charged a higher interest rate on their card, and in select cases a fee.
At land-based casinos, it is not possible to use credit cards to gamble,
but paying for food and drinks at casinos may now also come with higher
built-in charges. Citibank, the leader in banking in the United States
has already banned its one million British customers from gambling at
online casinos with their credit cards. In 2005, £53 billion was spent
on gambling, including the country’s National Lottery and about one
million British citizens regularly gambled at online casinos. There are
currently about 1,700 Internet gambling websites.
Recently, a spokeswoman for Mint, which is affiliated with the RBS
banking group, said, “The step that has been taken by RBS is part of a
move taking place across the credit card industry to examine the type of
transactions people are making on their accounts. The gambling
transactions are to be treated as ‘advances’, as this is felt to be a
more accurate means of reflecting that a gambling transaction is
effectively a cash equivalent exchange.” Currently, many credit card
companies note gambling transactions at online casinos as “purchases.”
Because of that, customers pay a lower interest rate and no extra fees
are required or forced. With RBS’ new policy concerning online casinos
and its credit cards, customers gambling with their Mint card will be
charged 17.9% rather than 14.9%. The rule goes into affect on May 1.