Australia Could Ban Credit Cards for Online Gambling

The Australian parliament considers banning credit cards or “digital wallets” for gamblers, aiming to set online wagering in line with land-based gambling. 

Parliament Aims to Protect Gamblers by Banning Credit Cards

Gamblers are not permitted to use Australian credit cards in land-based casinos and lounges. They are not allowed to take cash advances from nearby ATMs as well. However, these rules do not apply to online gambling.

The joint parliamentary committee on the corporation and financial services called the inquiry of the committee in March to consider adding changes to the Interactive Gambling Amendment Act 2017. The committee’s chairman is Queensland Liberal National politician Andrew Wallace. He told the Parliament that customers using credit cards to place online bets or gamble online have high interest rates and have an increased risk of loss, which is a big problem for many individuals and their families. According to him, the Commonwealth should implement safeguards.

Some land-based casinos closed during the pandemic, and many customers turned to online gambling, like poker and pokies, which are illegal in Australia, and they use credit cards to play. Legal online gambling limits to TABs, bookmakers, and betting.

Wallace stated that every year people spend $25 billion on gambling. He said that this number amounts to 6 Sunshine Coast University hospitals. He told the Parliament that banks like CitibankMacquarie, and Suncorp have decided to ban credit cards for gambling. The big four banks in the country are still considering the idea.

Buy Now, Pay Later Services

The “buy now, pay later” services, developed by the Australia Finance Industry Association, are not available for physical or online gambling in the country. The code “buy now, pay later” was coming out on March 1. People couldn’t use the option to purchase goods or services, restricted by the law, and gambling and illegal weapons fall in that category.

The Australian Banking Association issued a report last December, pointing out the results of a survey stating that 81% of the people believe that gambling with credit cards should not be allowed.

A Separate Senate Committee Will Examine the Legalization

This inquiry comes at the same as Sterling Griff, an independent senator, proposed a bill to ban the use of credit cards for online gambling. The bill is inspired by Britain’s ban, making it illegal to promote or facilitate credit card payments for gambling. A separate Senate committee will examine the legalization and issue a report by July 30.

The joint parliament committee will examine other urgent issues, including the level of existing voluntary bans by Australian financial institutions, along with the consumer detriment of credit cards used for online gambling, consumer protections; the potential for a mandatory industry code; and regulatory approaches used in other relevant jurisdictions; The submissions to the committee close on June 25.

The committee will consider amending clause 15C of the Interactive Gambling Amendment Act 2017 to ban credit card bets.

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