New Legislation Targets Credit Card Gambling in Australia

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The Australian government has presented the much-anticipated Interactive Gambling Amendment (Credit and Other Measures) Bill 2023. This legislation will prohibit the use of credit cards and related credit products, along with digital currencies, for online gambling purposes.

Operators to Face Fines for Accepting Credit Card Payments

The amendment outlines a series of measures, including imposing fines on operators who fail to comply with the new gambling regulations. Non-compliant licensees risk fines of up to AU$234,750.

Furthermore, the legislation broadens the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) capabilities in administering and imposing penalties. ACMA will be tasked with penalizing those who violate the proposed ban. Once the amendment receives Royal Assent and becomes law, a six-month transition period will begin to give operators and players time to adjust.

It’s worth noting that Australia already enforces a ban on gambling with credit cards at land establishments. This bill aims to bring the same rules to the online industry, establishing a comprehensive ban on all credit card gambling ventures.

It’s as simple as this: people should not be betting with money they do not have. Legislating a ban on the use of credit cards for online gambling will help to protect vulnerable Australians and their loved ones.

Michelle Rowland MPMinister for Communications

A Battle to Introduce the Ban

This new legislation enacts recommendations given by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services in November 2021. However, discussions about a credit card gambling ban have been ongoing in Australia for some time.

The Australian Banking Association (ABA) led a discussion concerning credit cards in the gambling sector from December 2019 to March 2020. This dialogue also focused on ways banks could enhance protection for gamblers.

Pressure for definitive action intensified in the spring of 2020 following the UK’s implementation of its credit card gambling ban. Notably, members of Responsible Wagering Australia, including names like Betfair, bet365, and Entain, expressed their endorsement of such a ban.

In formulating the amendment bill, the government worked with a range of stakeholders, encompassing operators, advocates for harm reduction, wagering and lottery entities, and banking payment institutions. However, some entities, like consumer banking group Bank Australia, preemptively instituted their own prohibitions. As of October 2021, they ceased allowing account holders to utilize their credit cards for gambling.

Amanda Rishworth MP, the social services minister, noted the bill’s alignment with the government’s endeavors to mitigate problem gambling and online betting-related harm. Rishworth elaborated, “We’re serious about protecting vulnerable Australians from the harm we know online gambling can cause. Any platform breaching the new rules will face penalties.”