Lisa Cheban | 16 May, 2023 12:17 | Last update on: 16 May, 2023 12:17
In partnership with the six states, the Australian government has been in overdrive to make gambling more secure and responsible. The latest preventive measure to be announced by the government is the proposed ban on credit card gambling. If this proposal materializes, Australia will follow in the footsteps of the UK, which banned credit card gambling purchases in 2020.
According to reports, the federal government will introduce the legislation in the upcoming months. The changes result from a parliamentary inquiry formed in 2021 to investigate the effects of credit card gambling. The inquiry chaired by Andrew Wallace, a Liberal MP, estimated that credit cards make up at least 20% of all gambling deposits.
Confirming the reports, the country’s communications minister Michelle Rowland commented, “People should not be betting with money they do not have.” The statement was made together with her social services counterpart, Amanda Rishworth. The move will bring Australia’s online gambling on par with retail gaming, where credit cards are already illegal.
The government says it will use BINs (Bank Identification Numbers) to identify and block credit card payments to gambling accounts. However, the precise mechanism and technological implementation are unclear, as the government is still consulting with relevant stakeholders.
The government claims amendments to the Interactive Gambling Act 2001 will be submitted later this year. These revisions will strengthen the Australian Communications and Media Authority’s enforcement authority and effect the prohibition.
Rishworth said that Reducing credit card gambling harm requires effort, as the recommendations cannot be set and forgotten. She continued that the proposals will align online gambling with land-based gambling that does not accept credit cards.
Welcoming the change, Alliance for Gambling Reform CEO, Carol Bennet, said: “This is a significant measure in reducing harm from online gambling. We know many people experience high level of gambling harm and those people are far more likely to use credit cards to obtain cash advances. This is money people can scarcely afford to use.”
Bennett acknowledged that there might be “loopholes” in the proposal, including using credit cards to buy cash. But the CEO insists it’s crucial to harmonize online gambling regulations with those for traditional forms of gaming.
These recommendations come when online gambling is already the subject of a legislative social policy committee investigation. The committee is expected to make public its recommendations that could affect the government’s subsequent actions.