ABA launches public consultation on credit card use

The Australian Banking Association (ABA) will launch a public consultation on the use of credit cards to fund online gambling amid concerns over potential risks of problem gambling.

Industry stakeholders, members of the public, and gambling operators will have until 4 March, 2020 to share their views on the topic. 

The consultation will consider the ways that banks across Australia can help protect players. The ABA is looking to gather feedback on five key questions, first on the risk and concerns associated with credit card gambling.

It will also determine whether new restrictions should be put in place by the banking industry which could a blanket prohibition on their use, and whether this should apply to all forms of gambling.

“Access to credit for gambling can create a unique harm whereby large amounts of debt can be accumulated in a limited period,” it explained. “For people with a gambling addiction, a credit card can lead to severe financial stress for the individual and their family.”

The consultation will also look at the potential consequences of prohibiting or restricting credit card gambling, and whether there should be a transition period for banks to implement features that would block particular transactions.

A number of Australian banks and financial institutions have limited the payments to gambling businesses for the credit cards that they offer, with methods including automated messages warning players of higher interest and fees associated with credit card transactions, and voluntary blocking controls for gambling-related transactions.

As it stands, online gambling operators are already restricted in their abilities to offer credit to gamblers as part of the country’s National Consumer Protection Framework for Online Wagering.