Australia Introduce Ban on Credit Cards for Online Gambling
The Australian Government has announced it will ban the use of credit cards for online betting and gambling sites following a 2021 parliamentary enquiry. Companies not enforcing the new regulation will face hefty fines.
The move comes following recent pressure from the Australian Banking Association which believes credit cards are unsuitable for online gambling and could cause harm to customers.
Let’s take a look at what the ban entails, when it comes into effect, and what it means for New Zealand gamblers.
The Interactive Gambling Amendment (Credit and Other Measures) Bill 2023
The new bill, which was recently introduced to parliament, will seek to ban the use of credit cards and credit-related products used for online wagering, including digital currencies.
It will also provide the Minister for Communications with the power to ban additional credit-related products that may be introduced in the future. And expand the Australian Communications and Media Authority’s powers, ensuring effective enforcement of both new and existing penalty provisions under the Act.
Both businesses and online bettors will be provided a six-month transition period to implement changes. Companies found breaching the new provisions may face penalties of up to $234,750.
Reasons for Credit Card Ban Online Gambling
The introduction of the bill is a continuation of the Albanese’s government work to help protect vulnerable Australians from online gambling harms.
Australia currently has the highest annual gambling losses per person worldwide, at $1300 per adult. This equates to a total value of over $25 billion, largely fuelled by the use of poker machines and online gambling. The Australian Gambling Research Centre found that the estimated prevalence of ‘problem gambling’ doubled between 2010-11 and 2019.
Communications minister Michelle Rowland said,
It’s as simple as this: people should not be betting with money they do not have.
Australian Banking Association chief executive (and former Queensland Premier) Anna Bligh believes the reform is well overdue. Bligh stated,
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
The legislation will be introduced in the next few months and the new laws will bring online gambling in line with other forms of betting in Australia. Credit cards have been banned in other forms of gambling since 2000 when Anna Bligh was formerly a cabinet minister in the Queensland state government. The move to ban credit card use among online gamblers in Australia also follows a similar decision by the British government, which was enacted in April 2020.
Additional Measures to Promote Responsible Gambling
The new Bill follows the recent launch of the nationwide Betstop, a self-exclusion register designed to help people exclude themselves from online gambling for between three months to a lifetime.
The Government is also set to introduce mandatory pre-verification for customers and require service providers to verify customer identities when registering a new account before they can place a bet.
They are also considering other recommendations from the parliamentary inquiry into online gambling addressing the harm of online gambling. This includes a meeting between state, territory and Commonwealth ministers sometime this year.
What Does It Mean for New Zealanders?
New Zealand Banking Association appears to be much less supportive of banning credit cards for online gambling, despite credit cards being one of the main ways Kiwis are topping up accounts with online gambling providers.
The New Zealand Bankers’ Association said blocking credit cards was unlikely to stop gamblers from spending money they don’t have and accumulating debt. The association said they found no evidence that online gambling had an effect on credit card defaults. And that banning credit cards would likely only encourage New Zealand players to use other payment methods, like debit cards or e-wallets.
They believe requiring local Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to block online gambling service providers would be a better approach, and have a larger impact on tackling gambling-related harm. New Zealand is a preferred market for many online gambling sites, particularly foreign ones because it’s one of the few developed nations worldwide that still has enacted online casino and gambling laws.
- AFR. “Country’s online gambling ministers to meet amid credit card crackdown”, https://www.afr.com/companies/media-and-marketing/country-s-online-gambling-ministers-to-meet-amid-credit-card-crackdown-20230912-p5e40v
- Casino Guardian. “New Zealand Banking Association does not support proposed credit card ban on online gambling”, https://www.casinoguardian.co.uk/2023/05/03/new-zealand-banking-association-does-not-support-proposed-credit-card-ban-on-online-gambling
- Newsroom. “Kiwi Banks at odds with Aussie bosses over gambling on credit”, https://www.newsroom.co.nz/kiwi-banks-at-odds-with-aussie-bosses-over-gambling-on-credit
- Nine News. “Credit cards online gambling ban legislation”, https://www.9news.com.au/national/credit-cards-online-gambling-ban-legislation/07e9000f-2fb1-4a31-85ad-18d1e16a608f
- The Guardian. “Australian gamblers to be banned from using credit cards for online betting”, https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2023/apr/27/australian-gamblers-to-be-banned-from-using-credit-cards-for-online-betting
- UK Gambling Commission. “Gambling on credit cards to be banned from April 2020”, https://www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk/news/article/gambling-on-credit-cards-to-be-banned-from-april-2020
Olivia is an experienced researcher and writer interested in everything relating to cryptos and iGaming. Olivia is also a skilled software developer and uses her IT and programming skills to write accurate content about technical aspects and iGaming tech. She helps with the QA and development aspects of Casinocrawlers.Read more about the author