Transaction Declined: Beware Of Aussies Bearing Credit Cards And Other Crypto Gifts
Gambling using credit cards to pay for bets is all set to be outlawed Down Under.
Australia has given us many gifts: The Boomerang, for example; the legend of Ned Kelly, the Sydney Opera House, the sticky, verbal dynamics of “sledging” and, latterly, Margot Robbie.
Who can forget her scene-stealing scene in every iGamers’ favourite movie, “The Wolf of Wall Street”, when she says “No!” to her pumped and horny husband, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, with a seductive provocation that explains Barbie’s pink blush.
Now the Aussies are at it again.
But this time in a progressive, and serious, move — and one that follows the wisdom of the otherwise “Whinging Poms”.
As of today, September 13, the Australian federal government has initiated legislation to ban the use of credit cards–and other forms of digital currency–to pay for online gambling in the country.
And operators who don’t enforce the sanction will face fines of up to AUS$234,750 (£120,550/US$150,440).
The Interactive Gambling Amendment (Credit and Other Measures) Bill 2023 is the brainchild of the Hon. Michelle Rowland MP, Minister for Communications in the current Labor Party administration of Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.
“It’s as simple as this,” Rowland, a long-standing anti-gambling campaigner, said in a statement. “People should not be betting with money they do not have.
“The government remains committed to protecting Australians from gambling harms.
“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 organisations, for their contributions to and support for this Bill.”
Paying for wagers in land-based and retail gambling outlets with your credit card has long been outlawed in Australia.
This gambling-mad nation of 25.7 million people that boasts some of the biggest casino resorts in the world and a mighty addiction to slots has now decided to follow the example of Britain, which banned paying for betting with credit cards in early 2020.
Australia’s iGaming industry and online punters will have a six-month transition to change their business operations and gambling habits after Bill 2023 passes into law with Royal Assent by the end of this month.
“Since coming to Government [in May, 2022] we’ve prioritised addressing the harm caused by online gambling and I’m pleased we are taking the next step with legislation to ban the use of credit cards,” said the Hon. Amanda Rishworth, Minister for Social Services.
“You can’t use your credit card to place a bet for land-based gambling and the same rules should apply for online gambling too.
“We’re serious about protecting vulnerable Australians from the harm we know online gambling can cause. Any platform breaching the new rules will face penalties.
“We know minimising the harm caused by online gambling is not a set and forget exercise and I look forward to working with my state and territory counterparts on what comes next to continue this positive change.”
Hitherto, it’s been estimated that around 20 percent of online betting in Australia is conducted using credit cards.
The government plans to use Bank Identification Numbers (BINs)–the same system used by UK authorities–to identify and block credit card payments into betting accounts.
Responsible Gambling measures–including a National Self-Exclusion Register, which allows punters to self-exclude for a period from three-months to a lifetime, and a massive crack-down on the Crown casino resort empire for AML and illegal gambling junkets–are now being initiated at pace in Australia.
The Australian government is also expected to introduce mandatory customer pre-verification identity checks, to prevent so-called “gnoming”, to authenticate new account holders before they can place a bet.
Leading members of Responsible Wagering Australia–including Bet365, Betfair and Entain–have all expressed support for the new socially responsible gaming measures.
Carol Bennett, CEO of the Alliance for Gambling Reform, said her group welcomed the change.
“This is a significant measure in reducing harm from online gambling,” she stressed.
“We know many people experience high levels of gambling harm, and those people are far more likely to use credit cards to obtain cash advances. This is money people can scarcely afford to use.”
Barbie, and most pro-gambling industry stakeholders would most certainly agree — although Leonardo DiCaprio’s inveterate, high-stakes gambler of “The Wolf of Wall Street” has his mind, decidedly, on other things.