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Australia to ban the use of credits cards in online gambling


The federal government will ban the use of credits cards in online gambling, with massive fines for betting companies that fail to implement the new restrictions.

The Bill, set to be introduced to federal parliament on Wednesday, will illegalise the use of credit cards and digital currencies in online wagering and slap fines up to $234,750 on companies that don’t enforce the ban.

Communications Minister Michelle Rowland said the legislation would protect vulnerable Australians and their families.

“It’s as simple as this: People should not be betting with money they do not have,” she said.

“The Australian government remains committed to protecting Australians from gambling harms.”

Credit cards are already prohibited from “land-based” wagering.

The Bill would also give the minister the power to prohibit future credit-related products as they emerge to keep the legislation up-to-date with technological changes.

The proposal follows the recommendation for a ban from a parliamentary inquiry into online gambling established in 2021.

“While the number of people suffering substantial harm from the use of credit to gamble online may be comparatively small, the consequences are significant and life-changing,” the committee stated.

“And those harmful impacts can spill out onto family members and the broader community.”

Industry and consumers will be provided with a six-month transition period to change their business and betting behaviours.

Responsible Wagering Australia, the country’s peak gambling body, supports a ban on credit card bets online.

The move follows a sweep of new policies to reduce losses in gambling, including the introduction of monthly activity statements outlining wins and losses and BetStop, a national self-exclusion register that allows consumers to exclude themselves from all Australian-licensed wagering services.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare calculates Australians lose about $25bn on legal forms of gambling each year.

Joanna Swanson

Joanna Swanson is Europe correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Brussels covering politics, culture, business, climate change, society, economies and inclusive tech. With specific focus in breaking news, she has covered some of the world's most significant stories.