Amendments seeking to prohibit credit card usage for online gambling purposes in Australia have been passed by the lower house. The ban will affect most forms of remote casino gaming and sports betting, but online lotteries, as well as activities tied to non-profits, will not be subject to the same prohibition.
The proposal was initially made by the banking sector in March, with concerns of netizens falling victim to debt and problem gambling being the main issues cited. A couple of years prior, the independent peak body Responsible Wagering Australia, which represents Australia-licensed companies like Ladbrokes, Bet265, and more, sought to create a framework for the voluntary ban of credit cards. The said plans are no longer in motion, and the group has expressed its support of the government’s bill.
Although the proposed amendments did become a point of contention, with members of the opposition along with crossbenchers seeking to amend the changes, Tuesday saw Australia’s two major political parties voting in favour of the bill, as reported by Yahoo News. Now that it has passed the Lower House, what follows is the 2023 act being voted on by the Senate.
If the new regulations are implemented, it will be mandatory for online casinos and sportsbooks to prevent any Australian user from depositing into their account balance via credit cards. Operators will have six months to implement all changes necessary to comply with the proposed legislation, and afterwards, failure to adhere to the rules will result in a financial penalty of AU$234,750.
Credit Cards are Currently Banned at Retail Gambling Venues
The prohibition will not be a fully new addition to Australian gambling legislation, and it will instead serve as an extension to current rules. Under Australia’s Interactive Gambling Act of 2001, licensed companies are forbidden from accepting payments via credit cards when it comes to brick-and-mortar gambling venues. The laws cover retail establishments involving games of chance as well as land-based sportsbook venues.
However, it seems that the popularisation of online gambling has resulted in the current legislation no longer being sufficient. According to data outlined in the explanatory memorandum for the proposed 2023 act, Australians have incurred AU$ 25 billion in gambling losses per capita in 2018-19. The issue has been further exacerbated by the COVID-19 Pandemic, as it forced more individuals to wager on the web while retail locations were temporarily rendered inaccessible.
Australia is not the only country where credit card usage on the web has been put under scrutiny. The Swedish Government has been considering a similar prohibition in the country’s gambling sector. Although the Swedish Gambling Authority (Spelinspektionen) has thus far cautioned against the feasibility of such amendments in the near future, the watchdog is in support of an eventual prohibition.
If both Sweden and Australia successfully implement credit card prohibitions, they will follow in the footsteps of the United Kingdom and Norway. The latter’s credit card bans specifically targeted offshore online casinos and sportsbooks, however, as opposed to domestic operators. As for the UK, a blanket ban on the utilisation of credit cards for gambling came into effect in 2020, affecting both retail and online games of chance and sports betting.
Daniel Williams has started his writing career as a freelance author at a local paper media. After working there for a couple of years and writing on various topics, he found his interest for the gambling industry.