Estonian gambling addiction officials have taken the unusual step to recommend the government prohibit the use of credit cards when gambling online to protect citizens from the “problems” caused by gambling. According to ERR News, the National Gambling Addiction Counselling Centre will make the recommendations when the changes to the Lottery and Gambling Act are discussed next week.
The country became one of a number of European countries to balkanize their gaming industry when it did so early last year. Originally, only the Estonian Olympic Casino, powered by Playtech, was allowed to offer gaming industry services in the country. PokerStars was later awarded a license to operate as well and this was when firms were required to situate their servers in the country. This has been relaxed to allow servers to be elsewhere and deregulation is being looked at seriously.
However, changing the gambling laws to forbid the use of credit cards is not a wise move. Estonia obviously hasn’t heard of payment processing companies. It’s very likely they would become increasingly popular along with the new wave of virtual currency companies.
In terms of stopping gambling addiction, they should read some of the wealth of research we have here on the tablog from the likes of Dr. Howard Shaffer and Dr. Patrick Basham. Anyone that is addicted to gambling is likely to have a problem with addictions to a plethora of vices. Whether it is alcohol, drugs, smoking, shopping or sex, the fact is that the addiction will be there in the first place. By stopping credit card transactions, it’s unlikely to do a massive amount and will just drive gamblers to land-based gaming or other methods of payment.