Plans For Online Gambling Credit Card Ban On The Way

Plans For Online Gambling Credit Card Ban On The Way
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The Federal Government has announced it will ban credit card usage for online betting and gambling sites. The Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill 2023 will also include other credit-related products and digital currencies. Companies found not enforcing the new regulations are set to face significant fines.

The move comes after significant pressure from the Australian Banking Association. The association believes credit cards are unsuitable for online gambling and cause considerable harm to consumers.

Let’s explore what the ban includes when it comes into effect and what it means for online gambling in Australia.

Long Road to Credit Card Gambling Ban

There has been discussion for years regarding banning credit cards for online gambling.

In 2019, the Australian Banking Association hosted a consultation on credit cards in online gambling that also looked at how banks could help to protect online gamblers better. Not long after, in 2020, the UK successfully introduced its own credit card gambling ban.

At the time, operators including Bet365, Entain and Betfair stated they’d support a ban, along with Responsible Wagering Australia.

Some banks took matters into their own hands and introduced bans on credit cards to fund gambling independently. In October 2021, Bank Australia announced their account holders would no longer be able to use credit cards for gambling online.

“Our research shows the majority of our customers believe credit cards should not be used for gambling, and as a customer-owned bank, our customers’ opinions are a big part of our decision making,” Bank Australia said.

National Australia Bank also became the first bank in Australia to allow customers to block gambling transactions using its mobile app.

Wider Efforts to Combat Gambling Harm in Australia

The Bill, which implements recommendations from the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services in 2021, continues the Federal Government’s work to help protect vulnerable Australians from online gambling harms.

The government recently introduced measures, such as the launch of Betstop, a national self-exclusion register, to help people exclude themselves from online gambling.

Other initiatives include monthly activity statements outlining wins and losses and new evidence-based taglines to replace ‘Gamble Responsibly’. Consistent training has also been established for staff working in the gambling industry nationally. Finally, they’re set to introduce mandatory pre-verification that requires operators to verify a customer’s identity before they can place a bet.

There is also a range of additional recommendations the government is set to review from the parliamentary inquiry that addresses the harm of online gambling. A meeting between state, territory and Commonwealth ministers will likely be held later this year.

Amanda Rishworth, Minister for Social Services, said the ban represents the final step by the government to address the harm caused by online gambling.

Why Ban Credit Cards?

In Australia, credit cards are already banned at land-based facilities and have been for several years. The Bill brings online gambling in line with this by placing a blanket ban on forms of credit card gambling.

Australian Banking Association Chief Executive Anna Bligh says the reform is well overdue.

“Using credit cards for gambling can create a unique harm where large amounts of debt can be accumulated in a short period. For people with a gambling addiction, a credit card can lead to severe financial stress for the individual and their family,” Bligh said.

Minister for Communications, Michelle Rowland, also believes the Bill is a step in the right direction.

“The Australian Government remains committed to protecting Australians from gambling harms. Legislating a ban on the use of credit cards for online gambling will help to protect vulnerable Australians and their loved ones”, she said.

When Will This Be in Effect?

Online gamblers and businesses will be given a six-month transition period to implement betting and business behaviours.

Casino operators will face fines of up to $234,750 if they fail to follow the new laws.

Any Other Important Details?

The new law also expands the powers of the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to ban other credit-related products that may be introduced in future years.

The authority will also be responsible for penalising companies that don’t follow the ban.

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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 licences, so you can make sure you always play at safe, reliable and trusted casinos.

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