Australia’s Credit Card Ban Campaign Gains Momentum as Bill Passes Lower House
- The Bill will prohibit operators from accepting online wagers via credit cards and digital currency
- The legislation will also grant more powers to ACMA and the Minister for Communications
- More measures could be in the pipeline, including a ban on gambling advertising
Australia’s House of Representatives has approved a Bill seeking to ban the use of credit cards for online gambling. The legislation passed the lower house this week with support from the country’s two dominant parties, Labour and Liberal. The Bill now advances to the Senate subject to further debate.
Bill Seeks to Prohibit Use of Credit Card for Online Gambling
Under The Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill (2023), operators will not be allowed to offer or accept credit cards, credit-related products, and digital currency from Australian customers as payment methods for online gambling services.
The Bill will create a new criminal offence and new civil penalty provisions and will expand the powers of the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to allow it to enforce such provisions and the existing ones. Online gambling firms found breaching the new rules could face a maximum penalty of AUD $240,000.
The proposal also includes a revision of the definition of “credit” under the Interactive Gambling Act. Additionally, the Bill will grant the Minister for Communications the authority to ban any other credit-related products as they emerge as a means of future-proofing the legislation.
Once approved, financial institutions and online gambling operators will be given six months to implement the necessary changes and comply with the new requirements. Furthermore, the Communications Minister will be required to order a review of the credit card ban and other related measures after two years of implementation.
The legislation, aimed at protecting vulnerable Australians from online gambling harms, implements recommendations from the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services inquiry into the regulation of the use of credit cards and digital wallets for online wagering in Australia.
Reducing harm caused by online gambling has been a top priority for the Labor government since coming into office in 2022. As part of efforts to protect Australian customers, the government implemented the final measures set out under the National Consumer Protection Framework, including the introduction of new evidence-based taglines and the country’s national self-exclusion scheme, BetStop.
Operators are also now required to conduct customer pre-verification before allowing players to create a new account and place a bet.
Gambling Advertising Ban Could be on the Way
New player protection measures remain under consideration, such as a phased ban on gambling advertising which was among the 31 recommendations made by a parliamentary inquiry titled “You win some, you lose some”.