Paypal Accused Of Facilitating ‘Problem Gambling’ In The UK
PayPal has been hit with several accusations from politicians and gambling experts in the UK who accuse the world’s biggest online payment provider of making it easier for players to spend their money at online gambling websites.
They are especially concerned that the company is doing nothing to curb spending that could lead people to bankruptcy.
This is mainly because gamblers use Paypal to avoid the current banking limits.
Spend Up To £150,000 A Day
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), the main department involved with online gambling had already issued a warning that payment providers could be soon under the eye of the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC). The UKGC in recent times has turned its focus on credit card spending at online gambling websites.
The attention has turned to PayPal because of the freedom it provides gamblers who are throwing their money away. Henrietta Bowden-Jones, the founder of the NHS’s only specialist gambling clinic, recently encountered a young gambler who used Paypal to exceed the limit on his bank card. The gambler was able to withdraw by direct debit £2,000 every few minutes. The result was that the gambler ended up spending £150,000 in a single day.
Paypal provides users with a very flexible method of payment allowing anyone with an e-mail address to send and receive money. This is done by connecting the e-mail address to a credit card or a bank account. There is also a Paypal debit card that allows for cash withdrawals. Paypal automatically charges a bank account or credit card if an e-mail address has a current balance of zero.
The trouble is that when people buy or pay through Paypal, the bank charge is done 48 hours later. The lag is what allows users to spend money that they do not have.
Financial Firms Taking Steps To Help Problem Gamblers
Banks have taken steps in recent times to help problem gamblers with their spending patterns. Barclays Bank Plc. has recently permitted customers to block payments to certain retailers like gambling establishments to help control their addiction. Some of the other banks in the UK are seriously considering following in Barclays’ footsteps.
The UKGC is also looking into credit cards and how they facilitate problem gambling. There may be sanctions coming on that front and the DCMS thinks that it should be more than credit cards being investigated with recent developments.
PayPal has responded to the recent allegations saying that they have taken them very seriously and that the team has made changes to identify and put in place restrictions that govern payments of problem gamblers.