Revolut app to block credit card payments on gambling sites

The Revolut banking app is to block credit card payments to gambling sites in Ireland, the Irish Independent can reveal.

The move follows this newspaper’s investigation showing that betting companies here are profiting from credit card payments made through contactless apps such as Apple Pay, Google Pay and Revolut.

Direct credit card betting is prohibited in Ireland under industry rules.

“Revolut plans to block the use of credit card funds on gaming sites in Ireland, similar to how we do in the UK,” a spokesperson for the payments company said. Irish Independent.

“This is in addition to the 48 hour play block that all users can currently activate themselves.”

Revolut, which has 1.5 million users in Ireland, can be funded by credit card, bank withdrawal or debit card.

It has developed technology that can identify Revolut payments taken specifically from credit cards and prevent them from being used for gambling sites.

The company currently uses this system to separate debit and credit cards for gambling sites in the UK, where credit card payments are prohibited on pain of fines.

The betting companies currently describe credit card payments through Revolut and Apple Pay in Ireland as a “loophole” which is not available to them in the UK.

They say the betting companies have no visibility into the distribution of debit or credit card payments from Revolut bets.

The Irish Bookmakers Association, which oversees Ireland’s voluntary Safer Gambling Code, told the Irish Independent that the betting companies had not technically violated the credit card gambling rules.

A spokesman for Junior Justice Minister James Browne, who is overseeing government plans to introduce a gambling regulator in Ireland, told the Irish Independent that credit card betting through apps “is not within the Minister’s jurisdiction”.

He said the case was one for the Irish Bookmakers Association. The minister’s spokesman added that the proposed new gambling regulator will have “the discretion to prohibit the use of credit cards where it is of the opinion that the use of this mode of payment contributes to the gambling and problematic behaviors.

A spokesman for Ireland’s biggest bookmaker, Paddy Power, said it was unclear how much the company would lose as a result of the move, as the company does not know which Revolut payments come from credit cards.

Online gambling is now a central part of betting company revenue, rising from 26% to 39% of the multi-billion dollar industry here, according to a recent industry report. Nearly half of online betting is done from phones, with companies investing heavily in their apps.

The number of gamblers suffering from addiction is “much higher” than the 30,000 to 40,000 quoted in official estimates, according to Barry Grant, CEO and founder of Problem Gambling Ireland and adviser to the region.

“It’s maybe up to three times that number,” he said. “Credit card betting is a huge problem.”

Last week the Irish Independent revealed that another betting app, LiveScore Bet, refused to delete betting accounts on request. The company now exclusively streams hundreds of European football matches in its app.

About Shirley L. Kreger

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