Australia Moves Forward with Gambling Ban on Credit Card

Australia Moves Forward with Gambling Ban on Credit Card

On the 6th of December, the Senate passed the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill 2023, which was first introduced in September. This opened the way for the bill to be passed into law, allowing for a near-blanket ban on the use of all credit cards for online gambling. The bill will first undergo a 6-month transition period, enabling all concerned parties to adjust to the new rules. This period will begin immediately after a royal assent is granted for this law.

Long Overdue Changes

The Credit Card ban came as no surprise and was long overdue. The country has been trying to move forward in this direction for quite some time. As far back as 2019, there were already consultations being made on how local banks could prevent players from using their credit cards for online gambling. The leader in this group was Bank Australia, which, as of October 2021, didn’t allow its customers to use any credit cards issued by them for playing online.

But the real movement began in 2020, with the introduction of the credit card gambling ban in the UK. However, the changes were not successful in the UK. After a small drop in stocks for publicly listed companies, they recovered within a week. Players quickly found other ways to gamble, predominantly buying Paysafe cards at the local shops with their credit cards and using them to gamble online.

Seeing the UK's example, Australia wanted to follow the idea, but had to improve it to make it work. Therefore, the Australian government managed to craft its own gambling policies and implement them in its market. If you are interested in learning more about Australian gambling laws, you can read John Gold's article Gambling Laws in Australia.

Way to Protect Vulnerable Players

The Credit Card ban comes as another means to protect players who show signs of problematic gambling. With credit card availability, players are basically allowed to gamble with money they don’t have. If their gambling spirals out of control, they can easily end up in debt, creating problems for themselves as well as their families. This ban is an extra tool for gamblers to keep their spending under control and keep the entire industry safer.

Campaigns for Stricter Regulations

Despite being a huge leap forward in gambling regulations, the credit card ban on online gambling doesn’t cover all forms of gambling. As pointed out by campaigners, the main flaw of this bill is that Keno and Lotteries are excluded from the ban.

Keno is already present online, so players can easily make bets using their credit cards. Lotteries, on the other hand, are the most popular form of online gambling, played by 64% of Australians, surpassing all other forms of gambling. Therefore, with the ban on credit card use in online gambling, problematic players might simply shift to other forms of gambling. At the same time, another flaw is that debit cards are allowed for use at online gambling sites.

Campaigners also advocate for an expansion of Betstop, which is the National Self Exclusion Register in Australia, equivalent to Gamstop in the UK. If a player decides to self-exclude from online gambling, he can still gamble away up to $10,000 in online lotteries. This is why campaigners are aiming to expand the legislation to cover all forms of credit card gambling.

High Fines for Rogue Operators

Once the transition period is over, all operators who allow Australian residents to play online for real money are expected to comply with the credit card ban on online gambling. The Australian Communications and Media Authority will be responsible for keeping operators in check and penalising them if they do not follow the new rules. Fines can go up to $234,750 for any operator found not to be in compliance. But the real challenge will be with operators outside of Australia, as the ACMA doesn’t have any real authority over them. It remains to be seen how the government will cope with these operators.

Safer Gambling Future

The new law is an extension to already existing regulations aiming to create a safer gambling environment. It’s expected to have a positive effect and greatly help all players showing signs of problematic gambling. On the other hand, the law may bring a potential decline in income across all gambling venues. It’s uncertain as to how big the impact will be on the industry once the credit card ban is applied or if players will simply find other ways to use those funds for gambling.

Alicia Want

Alicia Want

Content Expert

Alicia Want knows all the ins and outs of useful and valuable content. Despite no prior igaming experience, she fell in love with pokies machines. Before joining the team, Alicia was an editor at a small Melbourne newspaper but found her calling in the gambling industry.