Australia’s biggest gambling company, Tabcorp, states that it will not oppose a ban on credit cards as a payment method in Australia. The company also added that this will not present a problem, as long as lottery tickets can still be sold by local newsagents.
Speaking on the latest developments, including COVID-19, Tabcorp stated that the recent events have caused a massive shift towards online gambling platforms and, hence, the need for better intervention by the government is needed to protect Australian players.
Australia’s Proposed Ban on Credit Cards
Australia’s Parliament is currently considering the option of banning credit cards and restricting its residents from using them for online gambling purposes. Tabcorp reacted to these developments by admitting that a single national wagering regulator would be welcome and, thus, allow the Commonwealth to have full responsibility for the regulation of the online gambling industry in Australia.
According to Tabcorp, by giving the Commonwealth the responsibility of regulating online casinos, a higher level of consistency and law enforcement would be the result. This, it asserts, would be a far more effective solution than banning credit cards.
Historically, state and territory governments always had the responsibility when it comes to licensing and regulating gaming operators. Foreign online casinos are licensed in the Northern territory, but after pressure by Australia’s government, they paid around $1 billion in various taxes.
One of the biggest companies that represent foreign operators like Ladbrokes, Sportsbet, bet365 and Betfair, is Responsible Wagering Australia and it stated that it is against the potential ban on credit cards because it thinks that there’s no connection between problem gambling and using credit cards to deposit and withdraw money at online casinos. Just a reminder, the UK banned credit cards in 2020 as a way to boost protection.
COVID-19 Resulted in Many Changes in the Gambling Industry
Due to the fact that many Australians were forced to stay at home during the pandemic, Tabcorp has stated that many players have transitioned to betting and gambling online and will likely stay there, meaning that they will not visit brick-and-mortar facilities.
The Australian Gambling Research Centre solidified this claim by announcing its research findings. The center has reported that before the pandemic forced people to stay at home, 62% of all gambling activities took place online, but after COVID-19 hit, that number increased to 78%.
Because many online operators put a massive focus on credit cards, Tabcorp urged that such a sudden change would have a massive negative impact and consequences for both the players and the operators. That is why if this ban is to proceed, the online gambling industry should be provided with a transition period of around a year. The lottery would be one of the most impacted categories as over 40% of Australians use credit cards to participate in lottery activities.
One of the biggest advocates of the proposed ban on credit cards, Liberal Member of Parliament Andrew Wallace, addressed the issue and stated that gambling with credit cards may result in massive interest fees and, ultimately, debts. He added that all the Australian states and territories have banned all types of gambling with credit cards, but there’s still no ban on online gambling with this method. Since the Commonwealth controls the Internet, this is the governing body that should act on this matter, MP Wallace concluded.
As for the ban on credit cards, Australia’s most renowned banks have decided to ban credit cards for land-based gambling but still haven’t decided whether they should ban them for online gambling.