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The Australian government will soon ban online gambling with credit cards. The government will introduce amended legislation preventing the use of this method of payment in the near future.
Michelle Rowland, the minister for communications, and Amanda Rishworth, the minister for social services, announced an initiative to align online gambling with brick-and-mortar casinos, which already restrict credit card use. “People shouldn’t gamble with money they don’t have,” Rowland said.
As a result of the government’s initiative, Bank Identification Numbers (BINs) are now used to prevent credit cards from being used to fund gambling accounts and to avoid payment fraud using credit cards.
Earlier this year, the government announced that amendments would be introduced to the Interactive Gambling Act 2001 to implement the ban.
Several months have passed since the government discussed amending Australia’s online gambling laws. There were widespread expectations and support for the credit-card ban amongst online wagering industry players, which include ASX-listed Tabcorp, Sportsbet, and Ladbrokes.
Rowland and Rishworth stated that “BIN blocking has been successfully deployed by Australian casinos and poker machine locations to prevent credit card withdrawals from ATMs and has been used in the UK to implement their credit card ban for online gaming.”
A submission made by Responsible Wagering Australia to the 2021 inquiry stated: “Approximately 20% of deposits into betting accounts are transacted via credit cards”. Tabcorp says 13.7% of its account deposits were made through credit cards during the 2021 financial year.
Carol Bennett, a spokesperson for the Alliance for Gambling Reform, commented: “This is a significant step in reducing the harm caused by online betting. We know that many people experience high levels of gambling damage, and these people are much more likely to use credit cards for cash advances. This is money that people can barely afford to use.”
Financial Counselling Australia (FCA) welcomed the plan; however, it asserted there was a loophole because lotteries were excluded.
According to the government, there has been no mention of the “credit-card ban” regarding lottery services, including those operated by charities, since they present a “low risk of gambling harm”.
“We should never have to discuss credit cards and gambling in the same sentence ever again,” said Lauren Levin, FCA director of policy.
“If reforms leave a gap, that is where the money inevitably flows. With this in mind, we urge the government to reconsider the proposed lotteries in the new legislation.”
“The principle is the same, ‘no one should be betting with money they don’t have,’ whether they are spending $200 on a lottery syndicate or online gambling, whether they are spending in the local newsagent or on sports betting.”
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