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Australian Banking Association welcomes online gambling credit card ban

The Australian Banking Association (ABA) has welcomed the Federal Government’s announcement to ban the use of credit cards for online gambling.

The change will amend the Interactive Gambling Act 2001, making it illegal for an online gambling company to accept a credit card online.

ABA Chief Executive Officer Anna Bligh said this change will bring online gambling into line with the rest of the gambling industry. 

“The ABA has advocated for a number of years for consistency regarding the use of credit cards for gambling and strongly welcomes the Federal Government’s announcement today to ban credit cards for online gambling,” Ms Bligh said. 

“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. 

“The use of credit cards was prohibited for gambling in hotels, clubs, casinos and TAB outlets by state and territory governments in the early 2000s but can currently still be used for online gambling.  

“This has 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. 

“The overwhelming majority of Australians will applaud this decision. A survey commissioned by the ABA in 2020 showed 81% believe there should be restrictions on using credit cards for gambling, with over half (54%) stating their use should be banned altogether.” 

Ms Bligh said online gambling now accounts for the majority of all gambling and is one of the fastest growing forms of 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.” 

It is expected that the legislation will be introduced to Federal Parliament later this year. 

Ms Bligh said Australian banks recognise the harm caused by the use of credit for gambling and have introduced a set of tools to help customers manage their gambling use, including technology to track and cap gambling spending, provide real time alerts and initiate customer directed blocks.  

Some banks also offer low or no-interest credit card products which do not allow gambling transactions. 

Taken from the Australian Banking Association (ABA) Media Release on 28 April 2023.

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