‘Absurd loophole’ to close: Govt to ban credit card use for online gambling

Online gambling credit card block

Online gambling companies will soon be prohibited from accepting credit cards for internet gambling, with the Australian Banking Association (ABA) “strongly welcoming” the Federal Government’s decision to tweak the Interactive Gambling Act 2001.

The new rules being online gambling services into line with the rest of the gambling industry. Credit card use has, since the early 2000s, been outlawed for gambling in physical locations by state and territory governments.

This legal incongruity has, according to ABA chief executive Anna Bligh, “led to an absurd reality where someone cannot use a credit card at the betting counter at a TAB outlet or pub but can sit at the same outlet and gamble on a betting app using a credit card”.

She added that the reform was “long overdue”, noting that the peak banking industry body has advocated “for a number of years for consistency regarding the use of credit cards for gambling”.

“Using credit cards for gambling can create a unique harm where large amounts of debt can be accumulated in a short period. For people with a gambling addiction, a credit card can lead to severe financial stress for the individual and their family.

“The online gambling credit card ban will go a long way to help people experiencing gambling harm to keep control of their finances.”

“This is a long overdue reform and it’s a credit to the relevant Ministers that they’ve taken such a decisive move so early in their term.”

A number of Australian banks, including the big four, have proactively moved to deploy their own tools to manage credit card use for gambling services, including technology to track and cap gambling spending, provide real-time alerts and initiate customer-directed blocks, the ABA said.

Earlier this month, as part of the government’s online gambling inquiry, Bligh revealed that more than half a million Australians use their banks to cut themselves off from gambling services.

She also noted the big four banks provide customers with pop-up notifications within apps that enable them to ban transactions from companies linked to gambling.