The Senate of Australia has prohibited using credit cards to fund online gambling accounts following the approval of the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill 2023 (Credit and Other Measures).
Through the bill, the credit card ban now covers all credit-loan services and digital currencies as well as online gambling. It complements an existing land-based wagering credit card ban, effectively creating a nationwide ban on credit card transactions for gambling.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority will oversee compliance with the bill, and they have the power to issue fines of up to AUS$234,750 for breaches.
Once the bill receives royal assent, a six-month transition period will take place to allow for all gambling industry stakeholders to meet the new regulations.
Industry standards body Responsible Wagering Australia has shown its support for the credit card transaction ban, stating that “Australians should only be gambling with money that they have”.
However, the RWA also criticised the exclusion of lotteries and keno from the ban, noting their prevalence and impact on low socioeconomic communities.
“It is disappointing to see that other forms of gambling such as lotteries and keno have been exempted from the ban, especially when lotteries are the most common form of gambling in Australia and are commonly accessed by people in low-socioeconomic communities,” commented Kai Cantwell, President of the RWA.
“The latest Australian Gambling Statistics show that Australians lost more than $3.2bn on lotteries and keno in 2020-21. With the introduction of online keno in Victoria, keno losses increased more than 400% from 2021-22 to 2022-23.
“Lotteries were also exempt from the National Self Exclusion Register, Betstop, meaning that Australians who have self-excluded from online gambling are not precluded from gambling up to $10,000 online at a time through lotteries.
“To effectively reduce gambling harm, consumer protection measures must be in place across all forms of gambling; otherwise, those at risk of harm may simply shift from one form of gambling to another that is less regulated.”