The Australian federal government announced the new legislation that will ban the use of credit cards for online betting. According to The Adviser, the government’s regulatory move will be taken to  “protect vulnerable consumers from gambling harms.”

The legislation will prohibit online gambling companies to accept credit cards for online wagering. It will amend the application of the Interactive Gambling Act 2001 to encompass all online betting operations and only exclude lottery from the ban as these operations are reportedly considered by the government ”a low-risk to gambling harm”.

As the source reports, the legislation would treat online gambling in the same way as land-based gambling. Therefore the credit car ban in land-based casinos will equally apply to online wagering operators. Technical implementation is reportedly being discussed but it seems more likely that bank identification numbers (BIN) will be used to block transactions in a similar manner used by casinos and poker machine facilities to suspend withdrawals from ATMs.

Reducing Gambling Harm:

According to The Adviser, the federal Minister for Communications, Michelle Rowland MP said Friday that “legislating a ban on the use of credit cards for online gambling will help protect vulnerable Australians and their loved ones”. The reason for the governmental move seems derived from the data showing that Australia sustains around $ 25 billion in adult gambling losses, which is the highest figure in the world.

According to The Australian Institute of Family Studies, around 7.2 percent of Australians are affected by gambling harm, which is likely to affect their family and friends as well and significantly increase the percentage.  Rowland, therefore, stood for the credit card ban and reportedly said: “It’s as simple as this: people should not be betting with money they do not have.”

A Positive Step:

The Minister for Social Services, Amanda Rishworth, reportedly added: “The Albanese Labor Government is committed to creating a better Australia. Minimizing the harm caused by problem online wagering is a key part of achieving that goal. Importantly, minimizing this harm is not a set-and-forget exercise. Bringing online wagering into line with land‑based gambling, where credit cards cannot be used, is another positive step.”

Amanda Rishworth reportedly added that the Interactive Gambling Act 2001 will be amended later this year and that the Government will fully empower The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to enforce the ban. According to The Adviser, the government is also seeking agreement from the states and territories about the minimum ban requirements.

ABA Supports the Proposal:

The source further reports that Australian Banking Association (ABA) has agreed with the ban announcement and reported that its recent survey found that 81 percent of Australians support the ban on gambling with credit cards.

ABA chief executive Anna Bligh reportedly commented: “The ABA has advocated for a number of years for consistency regarding the use of credit cards for gambling and strongly welcomes the federal government’s announcement (on Friday [28 April]) to ban credit cards for online gambling.”

She continued: ”Using credit cards for gambling can create 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. The online gambling credit card ban will go a long way to help people experiencing gambling harm to keep control of their finances.”

Australians Support Restrictions:

Bligh reportedly referred to the difference between the credit card practice in online and in-land gambling facilities as an “absurd reality” as anyone blocked from using the betting counter in a pub could still use the betting up and the credit card in the same facility.

Bligh reportedly said: “The overwhelming majority of Australians will applaud this decision. A survey commissioned by the ABA in 2020 showed 81 percent believe there should be restrictions on using credit cards for gambling, with over half (54 percent) stating their use should be banned altogether.” She added that Australian banks had already introduced a set of tools to help customers manage their gambling use, such as low or no-interest credit cards that do not allow gambling transactions.

The House of Representatives standing committee on social policy and legal affairs is currently studying the impact of online gambling and the extent of the gambling harm to suggest future governmental actions.