Australia enacts ban on credit card usage for online gambling

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With the objective to address problem gambling, the Australian federal government has legislated to ban the use of credit cards and digital currencies for online gambling.

The bill was presented in the federal parliament on Wednesday, September 13. Notably, this ban builds on the existing regulations which already prohibit the use of credit cards for land-based gambling.

Communications Minister Michelle Rowland provided a simple explanation for the decision. “People should not be betting with money they do not have,” she said as per a statement to NCA NewsWire.

In order to ensure that the rules remain applicable in light of technological advancements, the legislation would also provide the minister the right to ban any future credit-related products. Compliance will be mandatory as those who do not do so will face fines of up to A$234,750 (US$150,470). Both the industry and users have six months to adapt and be ready for compliance.

Meanwhile, gambling industry body, Responsible Wagering Australia, said it fully supports the ban. As per the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Australians lose over A$25 billion (US$16 billion) each year in just legal forms of gambling.

Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth called the move to ban credit cards for online gambling a sound one.

“You can’t use your credit card to place a bet for land-based gambling and the same rules should apply for online gambling too,” Rishworth said as quoted by Yogonet.

The Australian government in recent months has ramped up its efforts to minimize gambling addiction. One of the measures include the establishment of BetStop, a national self-exclusion register where people can sign up to exclude themselves from gambling services.

Also, a parliamentary committee report recommended banning gambling advertisements over the next three years. The committee believed it is the only way to effectively prevent gambling addiction as partial bans do not work.