Tuesday 14 January 2020 9:09 am

Gambling firms’ shares slide following credit card ban

Shares in several major gambling companies have fallen this morning after the industry watchdog announced it would ban betting using credit card deposits. 

The ban, which comes into effect from April, covers all online and offline betting, with the exception of “non-remote” lotteries including the National Lottery.

Read more: Watchdog to introduce credit card gambling ban from April

William Hill shares fell as much as 4.5 per cent in morning trading, while Flutter Entertainment  — which owns Paddy Power and Betfair — dropped 3.54 per cent before recovering to stand 1.2 per cent down. 

Shares in 888 Holdings slid 3.54 per cent following news of the ban and the departure of the company’s chief financial officer, which was also announced this morning.

Gambling Commission chief executive Neil McArthur said the new ban “should minimise the risks of harm to consumers from gambling with money they do not have”.

McArthur said that research indicated that 22 per cent of online gamblers who use credit cards are problem gamblers, with more “suffering some form of gambling harm”.

Read more: William Hill to beat profit expectations after strong sports betting performance

The ban will be reviewed by the commission after it comes into effect on 14 April. 

“We realise that this change will inconvenience those consumers who use credit cards responsibly but we are satisfied that reducing the risk of harm to other consumers means that action must be taken,” said McArthur.

The Betting and Gaming Council also welcomed the announcement, and chairwoman Brigid Simmonds added: “We will implement a ban on credit cards which adds to measures such as age verification, markers of harm and affordability checks, additional funding for research, education and treatment and new codes of conduct to protect the consumer.”