14 September 2023
New laws banning the use of credit cards for online gambling are one step closer with the introduction of the Federal Government’s Interactive Gambling Act 2001 Bill to Parliament.
The Australian Banking Association (ABA) has welcomed this milestone saying the new laws will make it illegal for an online gambling company to accept a credit card online.
Credit cards were banned for gambling in hotels, clubs, casinos and TAB outlets by state and territory governments in the early 2000s but can currently still be used for online gambling.
“The new laws will overturn the absurd reality of someone not being able to use a credit card at the betting counter at a TAB outlet or pub – but still being able to sit at the same outlet and gamble on a betting app using a credit card,” said ABA CEO Anna Bligh.
“These new laws will bring online gambling into line with the rest of the gambling industry.
“The ABA has advocated strongly for consistency regarding the use of credit cards for gambling and these changes cannot come soon enough.”
Ms Bligh said the new laws will help strengthen consumer protections.
“Using a credit card for gambling can lead very quickly to a very serious debt trap for consumers and this debt cycle can be extremely difficult to break. Online gambling a fast growing form of gambling so it’s imperative that this loophole is finally closed.
“The Federal Government is to be strongly congratulated for acting on this important issue.”
The Interactive Gambling Amendment (Credit and Other Measures) Bill 2023 will:
- prohibit the use of credit cards, credit related products and digital currency as payment methods for interactive wagering services
- create a new criminal offence and a civil penalty provision related to the ban
- provide the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) with enhanced powers to enforce the ban and existing offences under the Act.
A survey commissioned by the ABA in 2020 showed 81% of respondents were in favour of restrictions on using credit cards for gambling, with over half (54%) stating their use should be banned altogether.
Data collected in January 2023 by the ABA from the four major banks and Bendigo & Adelaide Bank indicated that more than 775,000 debit and credit cards have had gambling blocks placed upon them by bank customers.
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