Australia to Criminalize Credit Card Online Gambling

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2023-05-01

Benard Maumo

A new prohibition is on the way for Australian gamblers. This is after the government revisited the Interactive Gambling Act of 2001 to criminalize the use of credit cards like Visa and Mastercard on regulated online gambling sites. The move replicates the 2020 credit card gambling ban by the UK Gambling Commission. 

Australia to Criminalize Credit Card Online Gambling

According to the government, the ban protects online gamblers in Australia from the potential harms of gambling on credit. Michelle Rowland, the communications minister, and her counterpart in social services, Amanda Rishworth, are set to announce the regulation that would bring online gambling in line with land-based gambling. As it stands, players at regulated land-based casinos in Australia cannot gamble with credit cards

Rowland insists that it is not advisable to gamble with money one does not have. The administration intends to utilize Bank Identification Numbers (BINs) to stop players from using their credit cards to deposit and withdraw money from gambling accounts. The government will review the Interactive Gambling Act 2001 later this year to implement the new regulations. 

In a joint statement, Rishworth and Rowland said:

“Blocking BINs has been successfully deployed by Australian casinos and poker machine venues to stop credit card withdrawals from ATMs and was used in the United Kingdom to implement its credit card ban for online gambling". 

Welcoming the Changes

Alliance for Gambling Reform’s CEO Carol Bennett expressed her approval of the proposed changes. The official said this is a significant step in curbing the damage caused by internet gambling. Bennet outlined that it is a well-known fact that many people are at risk of serious harm from gambling, and these people often use credit cards as a payment method to request cash advances. She says this money is often beyond the means of the individuals.

In 2021, a report from Responsible Wagering Australia confirmed that around 20% of deposits into betting accounts were from credit cards. Meanwhile, Tabcorp informed a parliamentary inquiry that the percentage of account deposits through credit cards in the 2021 financial year was 13.7%.

The restrictions come when Australia is experiencing a booming iGaming market. The Australian Communications and Media Authority says the country ranks among the top five in consumer spending. The report also says that social casino gaming is rising quickly.

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