Australia’s upper house has officially passed a bill that prohibits the usage of credit cards for online gambling. As previously reported by Casino Guardian, November saw the Australian House of Representatives voting in favour of passing the bill. A fine of up to AU$234,750 is what remote casino businesses will face if they do not successfully enforce this prohibition within the six-month transition period granted by Australian authorities.
In a media release on the official Ministers for the Department of Social Services website, it was also clarified that the ban concerns “credit-related products and digital currency.” The legislation, therefore, mirrors a similar bill that came into effect in the UK several years prior, wherein even payment solutions like digital wallets can be seen as illegitimate for remote gambling if a given user has used a credit card to top up their wallet’s balance.
Australian Gambling Reforms
Credit cards were already banned at land-based gambling establishments within Australia, and this prohibition’s extension to online gambling marks another successful implementation of gambling-related reforms that seek to make the practice safer for Australians. Earlier this year, the Government also launched a national self-exclusion register dubbed BetStop. According to authorities, the list has helped more than 13,000 individuals in Australia exclude themselves from remote gambling and promotions related to the practice.
BetStop’s launch was also accompanied by an amendment that made it mandatory for remote casinos to make customers go through pre-verification. This sought to better detect and prevent underage gambling and make it easier for BetStop-registered Australians to avoid online casinos.
Last month, it was agreed upon that starting September 2024, video games with gambling-like content will need to be classified as M (Mature, i.e., R15+). Simulated gambling games, on the other hand, will be deemed appropriate only for those aged 18 or older. Other measures include the introduction of staff training that is consistent on a national scale, and a law that requires remote gaming operators to provide their clients with activity statements on a monthly basis.
Data Shows that 46% of Australian Gamblers are at Risk of Gambling Harm
The Government’s credit card follows a report by the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs on remote gambling and how it affects individuals suffering from problem gambling. The inquiry was first launched in September 2022, while the final report was released this June, and it contains a total of 31 recommendations by the Committee.
According to the data, Australians incur total losses of AU$25 billion per year from gambling. On a global scale, this puts Australia in first place in terms of gambling-related losses per capita. The data also revealed that between 2010-11 and 2019-22, participation in online gambling had gone from 12.6% to 30.7%. Moreover, 46% of individuals who had partaken in any form of gambling in 2022 were at risk of problem gambling.
The Committee placed emphasis on the harms that can result from gambling, and made a wide range of recommendations that aim to address gambling-realted issues. Among them was an urging for authorities to create a national education campaign on online gambling, a proposal for improvements of the detection and blocking of offshore iGaming and betting websites, and proposals concerning bans on gambling inducements and advertisements of gambling as a whole.
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.