The bill also proposes stiff penalties for operators that won’t enforce the ban, with fines going all the way up to 234,750 Australian dollars. The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) is set to receive expanded powers following this bill in order to enforce these penalties.
However, the amendment has not yet passed into law. When it does, there will be a six-month transition period both for the online gambling industry and for the consumers. The bill will become effective immediately once it receives Royal Assent.
The use of credit cards for gambling has already been banned at land-based facilities in Australia, and everybody expected the government to expand that measure to the online world as well.
Michelle Rowland, the Minister of Communications in Australia’s government, issued a simple explanation for the reasoning behind this ban: “people should not be betting with money they do not have.” The minister added that this measure is expected to “protect vulnerable Australians” against gambling harm.
A Long Journey
Banning the use of credit cards for gambling has been a much-discussed topic in Australia for a few years now. The measure was recommended by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services in November 2021, but it was proposed by other entities before.
The Australian Banking Association hosted a consultation on credit cards in gambling in 2019, and from 2020 more and more people called for the government to act following the successful introduction of a credit card gambling ban in Great Britain. At that time the most powerful online casino operators in the country, grouped in Responsible Wagering Australia, said they would support such a ban.
While the government was consulting with stakeholders to draft the amendment bill, certain entities opted to enforce such a ban on their own. Bank Australia for instance, a consumer-owned banking group, set up such a ban in October 2021.
In addition to this bill, the government is also expected to introduce mandatory customer pre-verification by the end of September. The Australian government is also considering other recommendations issued by a parliamentary inquiry into online gambling and discuss other potential measures by the end of 2023.
Source: “Australia to ban credit cards for iGaming“. Sigma. September 13, 2023.