Australian banks call for ban on credit card use for online sports gambling
The Australian Banking Association’s CEO says the industry lacks basic regulation.
Australia.- The Australian Banking Association (ABA)’s CEO, Anna Bligh, has called for a ban on credit card use in online sports gambling, stating that the industry lacks basic regulation. While states and territories have banned credit card use for gambling in physical venues, online gambling has not been subjected to the same regulation.
Bligh said that banks were not calling for a moral crusade against online gambling but were instead determined to protect their business interests. She said that credit cards are not suitable for the industry since they could allow someone to accumulate a substantial amount of debt in a short period. She noted that credit cards have been banned for use at pub pokie machines and at bookies for over 20 years.
Responsible Wagering Australia (RWA) has announced that it is developing solutions to stop credit card use for online sports gambling. However, implementing a blanket ban could be complicated. Banks usually look for a merchant code attached to each transaction to identify and block specific products. The code for online gambling is also used by charities that sell lottery tickets for fundraising. Changing the code to focus only on gambling would require an international agreement.
Some banks, including Citibank, Suncorp, Bank of Queensland, and Bank Australia, have already taken action and banned their credit cards from being used for gambling. However, the ABA argues that gambling companies should be required to conduct and pay for their own compliance measures after a reasonable adjustment period.
Independent MP Rebekha Sharkie is also calling for a ban on credit card gambling and will introduce a private member’s bill this week. She told The Guardian: “Smartphones allow people to access interactive wagering services at any place and time and in relative privacy. It only takes a minute or two to gamble but, when credit is used, it can take a very long time to pay off.
“This will provide greater consistency of online and telephone betting with gambling in licensed venues, casinos and TAB outlets.”
Sharkie’s crossbench colleague Andrew Wilkie has also prepared legislation that would place an obligation on gambling companies to report suspicious transactions and proceeds of crime to authorities.
A parliamentary inquiry is set to provide the federal government with recommendations on online gambling and its effects on people facing gambling-related harm. The inquiry is expected to have its next public hearing hosted before the end of March.