Australia is set to ban the use of credit cards in online gambling as the House of Representatives passed the Interactive Gambling Amendment (Credit and Other Measures) Bill 2023. The bill, introduced in September, aims to address the issue of problem gambling in the country by prohibiting the use of credit cards for online gambling.
Communications Minister Michelle Rowland emphasized the importance of not gambling with money that people do not have, which reflects the philosophy behind the bill. Despite attempts to introduce amendments, the bill passed unaltered in its original form in the House of Representatives.
The ban on credit cards in online gambling aligns with a similar measure already in place at brick-and-mortar gambling venues. The bill would also give the Australian Communications and Media Authority the power to enforce the ban, with the ability to issue fines of up to AUD $234,750 to violators.
If the bill is passed, operators will have six months to remove their credit card products. The proposed ban is part of Australia’s broader efforts to combat problem gambling and protect individuals at risk of harm.
In addition to the credit card ban, Australia has also implemented measures such as the BetStop self-exclusion registry, where individuals can exclude themselves from gambling for a specified period. The registry recently reached 10,000 registrations, indicating the widespread support for such initiatives.
However, the bill has faced criticism in light of a controversial birthday launch attended by Communications Minister Michelle Rowland and gambling lobbyists in November 2022. This prompted Kooyong MP Monique Ryan to call for more transparency in lobbying rules, advocating for ministers’ diaries to be made visible to the public. Ryan described the current lobbying rules as “toothless and ineffective” and emphasized the need for greater transparency in government interactions with the gambling industry.