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Australia Implements Nationwide Ban on Credit Card Gambling—Exempts Lottery Transactions

The Australian Senate has ratified the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill 2023 (Credit and Other Measures). This pivotal legislation aims to prohibit credit card transactions for funding online gambling accounts. Originally passed by the House of Representatives, the Bill now extends its reach, encompassing all credit-loan services and digital currencies in addition to online gambling. This effectively establishes a nationwide ban on credit card transactions for gambling, augmenting the existing prohibition in land-based wagering venues.

Home / News / Australia Implements Nationwide Ban on Credit Card Gambling—Exempts Lottery Transactions

Online Gambling Credit Card Ban Australia
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Regulatory Oversight & Compliance

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) is tasked with overseeing compliance with the Bill’s stipulations. ACMA holds the authority to impose fines of up to $234,750 for violations of the credit card rules. A six-month transition period will follow the bill’s receipt of royal assent, providing operators, payment providers, and consumers ample time to adjust to the new regulations.

Industry & Advocacy Group Responses

The legislation garnered support from Responsible Wagering Australia (RWA), an industry standards body, advocating that gambling should be conducted only with available funds. However, RWA has expressed concerns over the exclusion of lotteries and keno from the ban, highlighting their significant presence and impact on low socioeconomic communities. RWA President Kai Cantwell emphasised the need for comprehensive consumer protection measures across all gambling forms to effectively mitigate gambling harm.

Statistics & Concerns

Australian Gambling Statistics reveal that Australians incurred losses exceeding $3.2 billion on lotteries and keno in 2020-21. The advent of online keno, especially in Victoria, led to a staggering 400% increase in losses from 2021-22 to 2022-23. Additionally, lotteries are exempt from the National Self Exclusion Register, Betstop, allowing individuals who have self-excluded from online gambling to potentially wager up to $10,000 online on lotteries.

The Call for Comprehensive Reform

Advocates, including RWA, are pushing for a complete blanket ban on using credit cards for all gambling forms, underscoring the shift in gambling habits towards less regulated forms in the absence of uniform restrictions. The bill is part of a broader initiative by the Australian government to address problem gambling, including the introduction of a national self-exclusion register and potential restrictions on online gambling advertising.

The Context of the Legislation

This bill follows recommendations from the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services from November 2021. The movement towards banning online casino credit card use gained momentum in Australia following similar initiatives in Great Britain in the spring of 2020. Some financial institutions, like Bank Australia, had already implemented their own bans on using credit cards for gambling prior to this legislation.

In summary, while the legislation marks a significant step towards curbing problem gambling in Australia, the exemption of lotteries and keno raises questions about the effectiveness and comprehensiveness of these measures. For those who still wish to gamble online other payment methods such as casino PayPal, Neteller and CashtoCode are still available to use at online casinos.