Australia’s Ban On Credit Card Gambling Officially Introduced

Australia’s Ban On Credit Card Gambling Officially Introduced

A ban on credit cards and digital currencies in online casinos has officially come into effect in Australia. Players will now need to use other deposit methods if they want to make their real money wagers. The ban was introduced on 11 June 2024 and follows the British example that has been in place since April 2020.

Australian players could previously use credit cards and similar banking products to fund their online gambling activities. The introduction of the Interactive Gambling Amendment (Credit and Other Measures) Bill 2023 last September has put an end to this practice.

This new legislation bans the use of credit cards at all licensed online casinos in Australia. It also prohibits the use of digital currencies for online gambling. It’s worth noting that a similar ban on credit card use had already been implemented at land-based casinos across the country.

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Ban Affecting Most Games

The legislation, integrated into the Interactive Gambling Act 2001, was approved by Australia’s parliament late last year and has been adopted just half year later. Introduced in the House of Representatives in September, the bill was passed two months later and subsequently moved to the Senate, where it was approved a few weeks thereafter. This new law bans the use of credit cards for nearly all online gambling activities in Australia. A similar restriction for land-based gambling was already established. However, the ban does not cover all games, as consumers can still use credit cards for lotteries and keno.

These games are considered as less risky due to the delayed outcome after the real money wager is made. In The Netherlands, lotteries enjoy more flexibility for advertising and responsible play campaigns than other gambling operators.

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Combating Financial Crime

A half-year transition period was put into place between January and June 2024, allowing Australian platforms to prepare for the changes. After the transition period, casinos breaching the rules face a fine of up to a maximum fee of AU$234,750 (NZ$ 258K). The new bill also gives more authority to the local gambling operator, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA). The new duties include enforcing updated penalty provisions and taking charge of issuing penalties for violations.

“Our government takes responsibility to prevent and reduce harm from online gambling. Our extensive ban on credit cards in licenced online casinos will help us obtain our goals. A ban on credit cards in land-based gambling settings was already put in place. Now the same rules apply for online gambling.”

Amanda Rishworth, Minister for Social Services

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Following British Example

On 14 April 2020 the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) announced a ban on gambling operators allowing consumers in the UK to use credit cards to gamble online. The ban aimed to lower the risks of harm to consumers from online gambling with money they do not have.

Last year, 24 million adults in Great Britain gamble frequently, with 10.5 million people gambling online. UK Finance reported that 800,0001 players use credit cards for making deposits to gamble online. Additional research conducted by the Gambling Commission points out that 22% of online gamblers using credit cards to gamble are considered problem gamblers.

UK Gambling Commission about 2020 credit card ban

The credit card ban in the United Kingdom applies to both online and offline gambling venues, but sees the same exception of land-based lotteries. This also means that online lotteries are not allowed to accept credit card transactions.

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Other Measures To Address Gambling Harm

The credit card ban is one of the measures Australia has implemented to combat problem gambling. Another recent initiative is the launch of BetStop, which is a self-exclusion register preventing players with gambling problems from accessing online casinos. Since its launch in August 2023, over 22,000 Australians have already self-excluded themselves.

Additionally, the Australian government has introduced mandatory pre-verification, requiring operators to verify a customer’s identity upon account registration and before they can begin betting. Online operators will also need to provide customers with monthly activity statements detailing their wins and losses. Furthermore, the “Gamble Responsibly” message is being replaced with evidence-based taglines that are meant to follow a more personal approach. The government has also pledged to implement nationwide staff training.

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Call For Total Gambling Credit Card Exclusion

Whilst the ban has been largely welcomed by governing bodies and industry experts, there has been some criticism for excluding certain gambling types. Responsible Wagering Australia (RWA), a prominent supporter of the credit card ban, continues to advocate for a comprehensive ban that includes all gambling forms.

“This measure is truly essential for protecting customers in Australia, helping them maintain control over their gambling habits,” stated RWA CEO Kai Cantwell. He adds “It enhances the range of safer gambling management tools provided by our members. RWA and its members believe this measure should be extended to all gambling activities currently exempt, such as lotteries and keno.

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