Australian House of Representatives Passes Credit Card Online Gambling Ban Bill
The lower house of the Australian parliament has approved legislation that would look to prohibit punters from being able to use their credit cards to place wagers online with betting sites or via mobile apps.
The measure known as the Interactive Gambling Amendment (Credit and Other Measures) Bill 2023 was passed by the Labor-controlled Australian House of Representatives on Tuesday and is to now be considered by the 76-seat Australian Senate.
The legislation was introduced to the 151-seat Australian House of Representatives in September so as to implement recommendations contained within the 2021 inquiry carried out by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services.
Its passage by the Australian Senate and subsequent assent by Governor‑General David Hurley would roll online sports betting sites and apps into a credit card use ban that has existed for physical locations such as casinos since 2000.
This week’s approval comes after the Australian Banking Association earlier urged the administration of Australian Prime Minister Antony Albanese to ban credit card use for online sports betting and gambling due to the growing lack of basic regulations prevailing in an industry now thought to be worth at least $50 billion a year.
This influential organization’s Chief Executive Officer, Anna Bligh, was a cabinet minister in the Queensland government at the time states and territories began prohibiting credit cards from being utilized for land-based gambling and declared that it should not ‘be possible to do something in the virtual world that is prohibited in the real world’.
“Every pub with poker machines, every TAB and every trackside bookie already implemented this 23 years ago,” Bligh said in March. “This is just a product that is not suitable for credit as you can accrue a very, very large amount of debt in an incredibly short period of time and have nothing to show for it.”
As written, the Interactive Gambling Amendment (Credit and Other Measures) Bill 2023 would also ban credit payments for online gambling using digital currencies such as Bitcoin.
The legislation would additionally expand the powers of the Australian Communications and Media Authority so as to allow the regulator to enforce the coming prohibition and slap uncooperative operators and financial institutions with fines of up to $234,750.
The Communications Minister for Australia, Michelle Rowland, praised the lower house’s move and declared that ‘people should not be betting with money they do not have’.
She proclaimed the legislation suggests a six-month transition period following assent and would grant her department ‘future proof’ powers ‘to prohibit additional credit-related products as they emerge’.
“The Australian Government remains committed to protecting Australians from gambling harms,” Rowland said. “Legislating a ban on the use of credit cards for online gambling will help to protect vulnerable Australians and their loved ones.
I would like to thank the wide variety of stakeholders including harm reduction advocates, wagering and lottery providers and banking payment organizations for their contributions to and support for this bill.”
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