phase out  | 

National Lottery bans credit cards to 'tackle problem gambling'

The new move will prevent users from running up credit card debts in pursuit of a desperate dream.
Senan Molony

The National Lottery is to end gambling by credit card on its Lotto draws and games.

From February 4, members of the public will no longer be able to link a credit card or commercial card to a new account.

Card-linkage has enabled users in recent times to programme their favourite numbers to be automatically selected for each draw, with an accompanying charge against the card.

Customers who already have cards linked to their account will be unaffected for now, but will have to change "soon".

The National Lottery said in a new message to account holders: "We're always looking at ways to promote and improve responsible play.

"It's something we take very seriously, which is why we have taken the decision to phase out the use of credit cards and commercial cards as a means of payment for playing online."

The National Lottery is now owned by a consortium that benefits the Ontario teachers' pension fund in Canada.

The new move will prevent users from running up credit card debts in pursuit of a desperate dream.


"We will get to a stage where only personal debit and pre-paid debit cards will be accepted, in line with best practice," the company said.

The ban on new credit cards will be followed by a second phase, in which customers will no longer be able to top up their account using any credit card or commercial card.

Customers were told: "Don't worry, we'll let you know closer to the time the change is about to take place."

Those whose account is linked to a debit card have been told there is no need to take any action.

But those linked to a credit card are encouraged to switch to a debit card soon to avoid disruption later on.

The email ends: "Please continue to play responsibly, play for fun."

The move follows a ban on credit card use for lotto gambling in the UK.

It means the National Lottery here is following efforts by the British government to tackle problem gambling while protecting vulnerable customers.

"Credit card gambling can lead to significant financial harm," said Neil McArthur, the UK commission's chief executive.

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