Australian senators hear submissions on credit card ban

Sports betting operators have expressed their support for a ban on credit cards.
Sports betting operators have expressed their support for a ban on credit cards.

Gambling reform groups and financial advisers have appeared in front of Australian senators to request a ban on the use of credit cards for online gambling transactions.

Australia.- 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.

Tabcorp wants banks to be responsible for credit card ban

David Attenborough, Tabcorp’s CEO, has said the company will grudgingly accept plans to ban credit card gambling in Australia but wants banks to be responsible for enforcing the ban. He argues that the financial sector is best placed to implement a ban given its infrastructure and the customer data it has available.

Attenborough said: “I’m not sitting here saying I accept a ban on credit cards for gambling. I’m saying if the committee decides it’s going to ban it, we’re not going to oppose it for online wagering.”

He said: “If this is the solution chosen by the committee, we will support it, but the legislation needs to be applied to the financial sector because they are best able to implement this.”

He added: “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’s CEO said only 14 per cent of online betting transactions use credit cards. He noted that credit cards can no longer be used credit cards in retail environments like bars, clubs, or racetracks. 

He also noted that the use of credit cards in online wagering with Tabcorp was declining but said that a problem gambler will always find ways of getting around blocks or bans, suggesting that a national regulator is the only way to resolve the issue.

Australian gambling companies support credit card ban

Sports betting operators in Australia have promised to support changes to the Interactive Gambling Amendment Act 2017 to ban credit card spending on online gambling.

In May, members of Responsible Wagering Australia (RWA), an independent trade advocacy body for Australian‑licensed wagering providers, came out against the proposal. However, companies have now said they will develop a technical solution to introduce the change.

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