Inquiry signals crackdown on using credit cards for online gambling

author-avatar By on August 12, 2021
Inquiry signals crackdown on using credit cards for online gambling

A parliamentary inquiry on Thursday examined how people are using credit cards to fund online gambling, as online bookmakers banned credit cards.

Australia's largest online wagering operators including Sportsbet, Ladbrokes and Bet365 have pledged to support new measures that ban punters from using credit cards in online betting.

Previously, members of Responsible Wagering Australia had resisted such a ban, arguing there was no compelling link between problem gambling and credit cards. 

Chief advocate for the Alliance for Gambling Reform, Reverend Tim Costello, supported the changes.

"We welcome today's announcement that corporate bookmakers will no longer oppose the banning of credit card use for gambling. We look forward to gambling with credit cards being a thing of the past in Australia," Mr Costello said.

On Thursday there was also a Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services into whether online gambling requires further legislation, signalling a further crackdown on overseas online casinos and poker sites.

Committee Chair, Andrew Wallace MP (Liberal), said the inquiry will assess whether Australians are relying more on credit products to fund their gambling activities. 

"I have made my personal views on gambling with credit cards known many times in my five years as a Member of Parliament. I have consistently stated that if you can’t use a credit card to support gambling in 'real world' casinos, clubs and at the track, I don’t believe we should allow it online," Mr Wallace said.

"Ultimately, the use of credit to gamble online has cost consequences on families, society, charities and governments who often have to pick up the tab when the House ultimately wins.

"It is important that this Inquiry firstly, has some insight into the prevalence of online gambling in Australia and what emerging behaviours we are seeing in our communities, particularly as many parts of the country are suffering from repeated lockdowns during the COVID pandemic."

Mr Wallace said further legislative changes could be made via amendments to the Interactive Gambling Act 2001.

The Australian Banking Association also attended to discuss how its 22 member banks address its customers' online gambling habits.

"I am keen to hear from the banking sector ... on the measures they have introduced to empower those Australians concerned at their personal gambling behaviours, to set up limits and website blocks when they feel their gambling is getting out of control," Mr Wallace said.

Banks such as Citi, Suncorp, and Macquarie have also placed blocks on credit cards used for gambling, but the big four banks are still considering such a move.

Mr Costello and the AGR also supported further legislation.

"It’s not a silver bullet, of course, but it can help prevent further harm for those experiencing problems with gambling, and is in step with the banks’ responsible lending obligations," Mr Costello told Savings.com.au.

"Access to credit for gambling is dangerous. It can lead someone to accumulating large amounts of debt in short periods of time with the very real risk that the user will receive no tangible benefit.

"For anyone experiencing gambling harm, a credit card can lead to severe financial stress for themselves and their family."

Gambling statistics from Queensland Treasury indicate Australians bet a collective $242 billion in the 2017-18 financial year.

While Australians weren't the biggest average gamblers overall - that belongs to Hong Kong - Aussies were the biggest losers, losing an average of $958 in 2017.


Photo by Pickawood on Unsplash

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Harrison is Savings.com.au's Assistant Editor. Prior to joining Savings in January 2020, he worked for some of Australia's largest comparison sites and media organisations. With a keen interest in the economy, housing policy, and personal finance, Harrison is passionate about breaking down complex financial topics for the everyday consumer.

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