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Emily D. Swoboda

PartyGaming, APACS Oppose Scottish MP's Bid for Credit Card Restrictions

10 July 2006

Mike Weir, the Scottish National Party MP for Angus, has called on credit card firms to place a cap on the amount of spending for Internet gambling sites.

"Regulation alone is not going to solve problem gambling, and this is where education comes into play."
- John Shepherd

The move was reportedly sparked by a rash of gamblers spending thousands of pounds on other people's credit cards. Most recently, a 25 year-old man in Scotland tried to kill himself after stealing his parents' credit cards and spending £158,000 ($292,406) in 50 minutes gambling online.

Weir said a spending limit of £1,000 per week, with sites limiting players to one credit card each, should be set to curb gambling addiction, but APACS, which represents the credit card industry in the United Kingdom, and online gambling giant PartyGaming have taken the idea to task.

Both parties have said the way to address the problem is to deal with an individual's addiction and not limit overall access to online gambling.

John Shepherd, director of corporate communications for PartyGaming, said the industry has already developed a range of measures to protect consumers and to ensure underage gambling policies are concrete. But industry actions need to be reinforced by and work in tandem with workable government-led regulation.

"Regulation alone is not going to solve problem gambling, and this is where education comes into play," he added. "First, there is a need to raise awareness among consumers that they should recognize the heightened risks of playing on sites that are not properly regulated by a recognized authority. Second, consumers need to be made aware that online gaming is first and foremost a form of entertainment."

U.K. gambling charity group GamCare recently awarded PartyGaming the responsible gaming certification for the second consecutive year, which means PartyGaming has for another year complied fully with GamCare's Code of Practice for Remote Gambling and has remained committed to providing a secure, responsible and trusted online gaming environment.

Shepherd feels that a certification from GamCare is a positive step toward being a trusted and well respected gambling site.

"PartyGaming believes that operators must be open to independent scrutiny and verification when it comes to responsible gaming," Shepherd said. "GamCare is renowned for its expertise in this field and is one organization with which operators should engage and seek certification. Gaining GamCare certification is no easy task. Meeting GamCare's standards takes a great deal of effort and commitment, not just from senior management but from all staff across the business."

North West Leicestershire MP David Taylor last month voiced his support for a similar measure in England, signing a parliamentary petition asking the government to intervene and look at regulating gambling sites.

APACS could not be reached for comment.

PartyGaming, APACS Oppose Scottish MP's Bid for Credit Card Restrictions is republished from
Emily D. Swoboda
Emily D. Swoboda