Australia Moves to Ban Credit Card Use in Online Gambling

credit card gambling ban
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After months of speculation, The Australian House of Representatives has passed a bill to introduce a complete ban on players using credit cards for online gambling.

Let’s explore the legislation, what it means for consumers and operators, and how it ties in with other government initiatives designed to reduce gambling harm in Australia.

Overview of the Legislation

The Australian House of Representatives has officially passed the Interactive Gambling Amendment (Credit and Other Measures) Bill 2023.

The bill aims to impose a blanket ban on players using credit cards for online wagering, bringing online wagering into line with land-based casinos in Australia.

Full Details of the Bill

The bill will not only target credit cards but also include credit-related products and digital currencies used for online gambling. The details of the bill have sparked significant debate in recent months but has received bipartisan support.

It also includes a raft of other measures designed to help protect vulnerable Australians, including giving new powers to the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).

AMCA would be granted enforcement rights to introduce new and amend existing penalty provisions and be responsible for issuing penalties to anyone caught breaching the ban.

The bill will now move to the Senate for further discussion.

Penalties, Enforcement and Transition Periods

The new bill includes heavy fines for operators not enforcing the ban on credit cards. Any licensees in Australia failing to comply with the ban could face fines of up to $234,750. ACMA will be responsible for enforcing the ban and issuing all penalties.

A six-month transition period is set to be introduced by the government to allow players, payment providers and operators to adopt the new regulations.

This six-month period would be effective from the date the Bill secures royal assent.

Background and Context of the New Credit Card Ban For Online Gambling

The ban on credit cards for online gambling has been discussed for many years, particularly given that land-based casino venues were banned from accepting credit cards for gambling back in 2001.

During initial discussions of the ban, the government consulted with various stakeholders to form the amendment bill. This included banking payment organisations, operators, responsible gambling and harm reduction advocates and wagering and lottery providers.

Similar bans are also already in place in other areas of the world, such as the UK. And some Australian businesses have already taken proactive measures, such as to block credit card payments, to help better support responsible gambling.

Kai Cantwell, CEO of Responsible Wagering Australia, thanked the federal government for their efforts.

“Responsible Wagering Australia is pleased that the Government has listened to calls from our members to strengthen restrictions on wagering with credit. RWA looks forward to partnering with the Government to further discuss sensible, evidence-based measures that provide consumer protections to consumers, at the same time as ensuring the continued enjoyment of online wagering by Australians”, he said.

Broader Efforts to Address Gambling Harms

The blanket credit card ban on credit cards for online gambling forms part of the National Consumer Protection Framework. The framework, which has seen the introduction of various initiatives over the past five years designed to protect vulnerable Australians, includes BetStop, free national self-exclusion register players can use to easily exclude themselves from all online and phone wagering providers licensed in Australia.

Another measure introduced recently by the federal government aimed at protecting vulnerable Australians was mandatory pre-verification of customer identities by all casino operators.

References

  • BetStop “About”, https://www.betstop.gov.au/about/
  • Responsible Wagering Australia “Responsible Wagering Australia supports Government ban on the use of credit cards for wagering”, https://responsiblewagering.com.au/responsible-wagering-australia-supports-government-ban-on-the-use-of-credit-cards-for-wagering/
  • iGaming Business “Australia lower house passes credit card gambling ban bill”, https://igamingbusiness.com/legal-compliance/legal/australia-lower-house-passes-credit-card-gambling-ban-bill/
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Ava Crawford
Ava Crawford
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Ava is our legal expert. She'll guide you through the latest info about Australia's complex online gambling laws and casino licenses, so you can make sure you always play at safe, reliable and trusted casinos.

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