In the coming months, new legislation will be introduced by the federal government that prohibits the use of credit cards for online betting.
This decision follows a parliamentary inquiry conducted in 2021, which suggested implementing the ban. According to estimates, up to 20% of deposits made into wagering accounts are made using this payment method.
“People should not be betting with money they do not have,” the communications minister, Michelle Rowland, said.
On Friday, Rowland and Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth will announce that betting online regulations will be aligned with those for land-based gambling, which currently restricts the use of credit cards. The specifics of the implementation and technical processes will be determined in consultation with interested parties.
However, the government intends to employ Bank Identification Numbers (BINs) to identify and prevent credit card payments, preventing the use of credit card numbers to deposit funds into betting accounts.
According to Rowland and Rishworth, the technique of blocking Bank Identification Numbers (BINs) has been effectively utilized by Australian casinos and poker machine establishments to prevent credit card withdrawals from ATMs.
This method was also adopted by the United Kingdom to implement its credit card ban for gambling online.
“Blocking BINs has been successfully deployed by Australian casinos and poker machine venues to stop credit card withdrawals from ATMs and was used in the United Kingdom to implement its credit card ban for online casino gaming,” Rowland and Rishworth said.
Later this year, the Australian government intends to introduce amendments to the Interactive Gambling Act 2001 to enforce the ban. The government has stated that these amendments will provide the Australian Communications and Media Authority with increased enforcement powers.
“Minimising 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,” Rishworth said.
At present, a parliamentary committee on social policy is conducting an inquiry into online wagering, which will offer suggestions to assist the government’s decision-making.
Moreover, a previous inquiry led by Liberal MP Andrew Wallace, which examined gambling and credit cards under the previous Coalition government, recommended in 2021 that the government prohibits online gambling service providers of wagering, gaming, and other forms of gambling (with the exception of lotteries) from accepting payment by credit cards, including through digital wallets.
Labor’s proposal suggests that lotteries, including those conducted by charitable organizations, should be excluded from the ban because “they present a low-risk to gambling harm”.
In a submission to the 2021 inquiry, Responsible Wagering Australia stated that around 20% of deposits made into wagering accounts are conducted using credit cards. Meanwhile, Tabcorp revealed that in the financial year 2021, 13.7% of its account deposits were made through credit cards, as disclosed to the inquiry.
The CEO of the Alliance for Gambling Reform, Carol Bennett, expressed her group’s approval of the forthcoming change.
According to her, this is a significant step in reducing the negative impact of playing in online casino, as a large number of individuals who suffer from gambling-related harm tend to utilize credit cards to obtain cash advances, which can have detrimental financial consequences.
Despite acknowledging that there may be potential loopholes in the policy, such as the use of credit cards to obtain cash, Bennett emphasized the importance of aligning online gambling policies with those pertaining to other forms of wagering.
She reiterated her group’s demand for a ban on gambling advertising across all broadcast platforms.
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