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Australian Senate Passes Online Gambling Credit Card Ban

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The Australian Senate has passed the Interactive Gambling Amendment (Credit and Other Measures) Bill 2023, introduced in September. Its primary aim is to enforce a comprehensive ban on the use of credit cards, along with other credit-related products and digital currencies, for online gambling in Australia. This move follows the passage of the bill by the House of Representatives last month, and its approval by the Senate means it will now pass into law.

Key Features of the New Legislation

The bill extends the existing prohibition of credit card use in land-based casinos to the online sphere, effectively establishing a nationwide ban. It encompasses several important provisions, such as imposing fines up to AU$234,750 for operators who fail to comply. Additionally, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) is empowered with the authority to enforce these penalties and oversee compliance.

However, the bill will not be immediately operational. The government has announced a six-month transition period following royal assent, allowing stakeholders to adjust to the new regulations. This decision reflects the government's consultation with various groups, including operators, harm reduction advocates, and banking payment organizations.

Ban Welcomed by Responsible Gambling Groups

Responsible Wagering Australia (RWA), a prominent supporter of the credit card ban, has expressed its approval.

This is an important measure to protect customers and their loved ones, making it easier for people to stay in control of their own gambling behaviour. It will complement the existing offering of safer gambling account management tools by RWA members to customers to help them stay in control of their betting.

Kai CantwellRWA CEO

However, Cantwell said that it is “disappointing” that the bill excludes lotteries and keno from the ban, as they are the most popular form of gambling in Australia. He referred to the latest Australian Gambling Statistics, which show significant losses in lotteries and keno.

The push for a credit card ban on online gambling in Australia is not new. It follows recommendations from the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services and mirrors laws passed in other countries, such as Great Britain. Some Australian banking institutions, like Bank Australia, had already preemptively implemented their own bans on credit card use for gambling prior to this legislation.

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