Australia enforces ban on credit card gambling

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Australia’s Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill 2023 has come into effect, imposing a nationwide ban on using credit cards and associated products for gambling.

Starting from 11 June, consumers across all six territorial states are prohibited from using credit cards and similar services for online gambling transactions.

The Commonwealth Government of Australia has enforced this credit wagering ban nationwide, overriding state autonomy on gambling licences, as the key reform of the Gambling Amendment Bill of 2023.

Parliament sanctioned the Bill in November 2023, amending the Interactive Gambling Act 2001 to ban credit cards, credit-related products, and digital currency as payment methods for online wagering services.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) will monitor and scrutinise the new rules restricting credit card wagering for online gambling.

The ACMA has expanded its oversight of online gambling activities, allowing it to issue fines of AU$235,000 (€150,000) for individual breaches of the credit wagering rules by licensed businesses.

Since November, state-licensed operators in Australia had six months to implement changes, aligning the credit card ban with existing restrictions on land-based venues.

Communications Minister Michelle Rowland stated: “Australians should not be gambling with money they do not have.”

She added, “Our commitment to ensuring gambling takes place within a robust legislative framework with strong consumer protections remains steadfast, and we will have more to announce in due course.”

The Commonwealth Government is determined to curb problem gambling, launching BetStop in 2023, a centralised self-exclusion register operating across all territorial states.

Additional protections require pre-verification ID across all online gambling accounts before consumers can access websites or devices. Online operators must also send customers monthly activity statements outlining wins and losses, as mandated by the ACMA.

Responsible Wagering Australia (RWA) and its members have supported this measure and collaborated with the Commonwealth Government and financial services industry since 2021 to implement the credit card ban.

RWA CEO, Kai Cantwell, emphasised the importance of this change, echoing Rowland’s stance that Australians should only gamble with money they have.

“This measure is crucial for protecting customers, making it easier for people to control their gambling behaviour,” Cantwell said.

“It complements the existing safer gambling tools offered by RWA members.”

RWA members advocate extending the ban to all gambling forms, including lotteries and keno, currently exempt from the ban.

Cantwell added: “If consumer protection measures aren’t consistent across all forms of gambling, it will incentivize vulnerable Australians to move to less-regulated types of gambling, increasing their risk of harm.”