Australia: Westpac updates digital gambling block

The gambling block feature was released in April.
The gambling block feature was released in April.

Westpac Group, an Australian bank, has revealed it has added new functionalities to its revamped digital gambling block app that prevent customers from making deposits to online gambling platforms.

Australia.- Westpac Group has announced an update in its digital gambling block app, which allows clients to suspend themselves from making deposits to online gambling websites. Westpac was one of the banks that supported Queensland MP Andrew Wallace’s initiative to ban the use of credit cards for online gambling.

One of the app’s new features is a gambling block for all underaged debit cardholders by default.

Catherine Fitzpatrick, director of customer vulnerability and financial resilience at Westpac, said the new features will ensure clients have help when they need it most. She said the app has been turned on by in excess of 30,000 clients since it was launched.

Since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, different Australian states saw a rise in gambling losses and a record spent on online gambling websites.

Australian senators hear submissions on credit card ban

The Senate committee is preparing to announce its recommendations on the use of credit cards for online gambling transactions after hearing submissions from campaigners and advisors. The committee is expected to submit its final report on October 8. 

If the Interactive Gambling Amendment (Prohibition on Credit Card Use) Act 2020 is finally approved, Australia could follow the example of the United Kingdom and prohibit the use of credit cards on all forms of online gambling platforms.

Supporters of the proposed bill said that the ban would ensure that problem gamblers in the country will be better protected from gambling-related harm because they will not be able to use the money they don’t own and put themselves in debt.

Lauren Levine, a member of the Australian Financial Consulting, said the use of credit cards may cause significant harm to people who have difficulty controlling gambling, especially in the context of the current Covid-19 pandemic.

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