The CEO of Australian betting and gaming operator Tabcorp, David Attenborough, has argued that banks should be responsible for preventing bettors from using credit cards for gambling.
Attenborough had previously outlined his support for a ban on credit card payments for online gambling in Australia, stating in July that his ASX-registered gambling company would not oppose the introduction of such a prohibition.
However, according to ZDNet, Attenborough stated his argument in front of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Security last week that banks should implement the ban.
Describing a ban on credit cards as a ‘blunt instrument’ requiring ‘layers of extra risk controls around customers’, Attenborough argued that problem bettors will ‘find a way to get their money where they want to gamble it,’ perhaps sidestepping the ban using digital wallets or cryptocurrencies.
“It is an old world form of transacting that’s declining and you’re just going to speed up that and then move it into a multitude of different wallets where the only people that will really know what’s going on will be the financial sector, not us, we won’t have a clue,” he said.
“If we got more information from the banks that a card was suspect, we could shut it down. If the banks notified us that this was a problem, we would be able to stop dealing with that problem, but this flow of information doesn’t happen.”
Tabcorp was later joined by other prominent betting companies in Australia in dropping its opposition and announcing support for the initiative, including bet365, Ladbrokes and Sportsbet.
Responsible Wagering Australia – a lobby group representing some of the country’s largest betting and gaming incumbents – also dropped its opposition to the reform, having previously argued that there is no direct link between credit card payments for betting purposes and gambling-related harm.
“I’m not sitting here saying I accept a ban on credit cards for gambling,” Attenborough remarked in front of the committee. “I’m saying if the committee decides it’s going to ban it, we’re not going to oppose it for online wagering.”
Australian bettors are currently prohibited from using credit cards in retail gambling venues, including clubs, pubs or at racetracks, and Attenborough further detailed that only 14% of online betting transactions were conducted via credit card.
However, although he maintained that a significant number of credit card-using bettors are responsible gamblers, he acknowledged that a proportion of this group of punters are at risk of gambling related harm.
“I don’t think people should gamble with debt,” the Tabccrp CEO continued. “If that is the solution the committee chooses to do, we will support that, but that legislation needs to be applied to the financial sector because they’re best set up to be able to implement that.”