The gambling giant William Hill has confirmed they will finally fall into line with other betting firms in Ireland and ban the use of credit cards on their sites.
The ban will kick in on Wednesday (February 16), and from that day onwards players at William Hill’s casino platforms will need to nominate a new payment for their accounts.
The Irish Safer Gambling Code, which is overseen by the Irish Bookmakers’ Association, has prohibited credit card deposits since August 2021 after a number of IBA members – including Entain and Flutter – agreed to adhere to the self-imposed ban.
The chair of the IBA, Sharon Byrne, said at the time:
“We recognise that there is a need for the industry to continue to develop the highest standards for safer gambling. We believe, in particular, that the credit card ban and the ‘whistle to whistle’ advertising restrictions are significant steps on that path.”
However, the ban only applies to gambling operators that have signed up to the Irish Safer Gambling Code – which William Hill and a number of overseas firms, including BetVictor, haven’t.
The IBA does not have the legal heft to punish any gambling operators in Ireland that don’t conform to the ban, and with the Irish government yet to formally outlaw credit card deposits – which the UK regulator has since April 2020 – there is no rule that prevents firms from accepting such payments.
However, after an investigation carried out by the Irish Independent, William Hill has confirmed they are now jumping on board with a ban of their own.
“It‘s our ambition that nobody is harmed by gambling, and we’re getting in touch to let you know that we will be voluntarily removing credit card deposits as a payment option,” a company spokesperson told the newspaper.
Cutting Out the Middle Man
It has long been rumoured that the Irish government is planning an overhaul of gambling industry regulation – an environment which some campaigners have likened to the ‘Wild West’.
Amongst their plans, it is expected that they will form an independent regulator, much like the UK Gambling Commission, to oversee the sector, and a formal ban on credit card betting is also expected to be on the agenda.
One of the other issues is where gamblers are able to use a ‘middle man’ payment platform to gamble indirectly using their credit card. Bettors are able to load funds into an e-wallet account using their credit card, and then use these to top up their betting funds.
In the UK, gambling firms have been ordered to carry out more diligent checks on their customers’ source of funds, but some payment providers – including Apple Pay and Revolut – are still offering their users a loophole.
According to the Irish Independent, Revolut has contacted them to say that new technology that would differentiate credit and debit card payments for merchants will be released soon.
But, at the time of writing, Apple Pay have not revealed any plans they have to block credit card gambling in Ireland via their platform – a dangerous oversight in a market that remains bizarrely unregulated even in 2022.