Sportsbooks in Australia have decided to roll with the punches and back up a credit card ban that would bolster the consumer protection framework in the country’s online gambling industry.
Sportsbooks in Australia Prepared to Suspend Credit Cards
Australia is about to experience a big change in online gambling policies after the country’s leading sportsbooks have agreed to back a ban on credit card payments. This constitutes a big leap forward for the industry as Australia follows in the footsteps of other established gambling markets, which have decided to suspend all credit card payments used for the purposes of betting or gambling.
While Sportsbet, bet365 and Ladbrokes initially launched a mild opposition on the matter, they seem to have been brought into the fold. Originally, the sportsbooks argued that suspending credit card payments would make it more difficult for regular customers to use their services and pointed out there was no correlation between gambling addiction and credit cards. Yet, the companies decided to follow suit after Tabcorp announced last month that it would not oppose a potential ban on credit card payments at gambling establishments.
However, the sportsbooks have reassessed their position, agreeing to bring their policies in line with governing casinos, and other retail outlets have agreed on enforcing in the land-based industry. While the debates were still ongoing, trade bodies, such as Responsible Wagering Australia (RWA), argued in favor of a credit card ban from gambling establishments, whether they are digital or physical.
Ready to Act, Just Need Go-Ahead
At the same time, RWA has been preparing a technological solution that would expedite the implementation of what is considered a safer gaming environment for everyone. RWA has been one of the most passionate proponents of the ban, arguing to the contrary of sportsbooks that credit cards were linked to a higher rate of problem gambling in the population.
Sportsbooks at the time responded that if consumers were not allowed to credit cards, offshore sportsbooks may have an advantage and encroach further on regulated sports betting territory. However, the Australian media regulator has been banning illegal websites in spades, with many affiliates and operators getting hit.
RWA, though, did not focus on just one side of the argument. Chief executive Brent Jackson explained that the organization would focus on ensuring that the government doesn’t end up handing down restrictions that actually hurt sportsbooks’ businesses.
However, he did note that the measure would lead to a stronger consumer protection framework for online gambling in Australia and assured businesses that “RWA members recognized and respected community views on this issue and would work constructively on delivering this reform.”
Sportsbooks Slow to Act, Banks Quick to Respond
While sportsbooks have taken their time trying to figure out whether a ban would hurt their business, some of Australia’s largest banks, such as Citibank, Macquarie and Suncorp, have already suspended credit payments to gambling websites.
That includes lottery tickets as well as any other form of online or retail gambling. There have also been calls that it might be easier to enforce blanket compliance if the Interactive Gambling Act, the document regulates the entire industry, was to include an amendment where it prohibits companies from accepting such cards.