The Australian government is planning to implement a comprehensive prohibition on the use of credit cards for gambling.
The details regarding how and when the ban will be implemented are not clear at this time. The Australian government has announced its intention to introduce the ban, but the specific details of its implementation, such as the date of enforcement and the penalties for non-compliance, have yet to be determined.
Australia’s Minister for Communications, Michelle Rowland, and Minister for Social Services Amanda Rishworth issued a joint statement to announce the policy.
The government has stated that consultations will begin soon on the draft legislation and the technical details of enforcing the ban, which will involve the utilization of Bank Identification Numbers (BINs) to recognize and prevent credit card payments for gambling.
This modification will align internet-based gambling activities with the rules that apply to Australia’s physical gambling establishments, where the use of credit cards for gambling is already forbidden.
The implementation of the ban will occur by amending the Interactive Gambling Act 2001, and it is anticipated to be introduced later this year.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) will be granted extended enforcement abilities to uphold the ban.
Strikingly, lottery services will be excluded from the ban because they present a minor risk of gambling harm, as reported by the ministers in their statement.
Australia has implemented a range of measures aimed at mitigating gambling-related harm, with the latest being the credit card gambling ban. Other initiatives include modifying the responsible gambling slogans used by operators and introducing BetStop, a nationwide self-exclusion registry.
In the land-based sector, Australian casinos and poker machine venues have effectively employed the blocking of Bank Identification Numbers (BINs) to halt credit card withdrawals from ATMs, as well as in the UK to enforce its credit card ban for online gambling.
The ministers emphasized that it is not advisable for individuals to bet with funds they do not possess. According to the statement, Australia has the highest rate of gambling losses per adult globally, with Australian punters losing a total of A$25bn annually.
The statement also cited figures from the Australian Institute of Family Studies, which suggest that 7.2% of Australians are experiencing or at risk of experiencing gambling harm, and a survey conducted by the Australian Banking Association, which found that more than 80% of Australians believe that credit card gambling should be limited or banned.
Rowland stated, “It’s a straightforward concept: individuals should not be gambling with funds they do not possess. Enforcing a ban on credit cards for online gambling will assist in safeguarding vulnerable Australians and their families.” Rishworth added that mitigating this harm is not a one-time action, and aligning online betting with land-based gambling, where credit cards are not permitted, is a beneficial step.
Rishworth also mentioned during a press conference on April 28 that approximately 15-20% of online gambling is presently conducted using credit cards, and when individuals are using debt to facilitate online gambling, it is a cause for concern.
“It’s as simple as this: people should not be betting with money they do not have,” said Rowland.
“Legislating a ban on the use of credit cards for online gambling will help protect vulnerable Australians and their loved ones.”
Rishworth said at a press conference today (28 April) that around 15-20% of online gambling is currently done using credit cards, and that “when there are people using debt to facilitate online gambling, then we have a problem.”
The decision to ban credit card gambling in Australia has been applauded by Responsible Wagering Australia (RWA), whose members include bet365, Betfair, Entain, PointsBet and Unibet, as it aligns with the organization’s belief that Australians should only gamble with their own money.
Kai Cantwell, CEO of RWA, expressed his enthusiasm for collaborating with the government on implementing reasonable, evidence-based measures that provide customer protection while maintaining the enjoyment of online betting for Australians. Cantwell also mentioned that RWA members have been cooperating with the Australian federal government and the financial services industry to implement effective credit card bans for betting since 2021.
Since April 2020, gambling with credit cards has been prohibited in the UK.