by Mateusz Mazur

Australia Cracks Down on Credit Card Betting: New Legislation Passed

In a landmark decision, the Australian Federal Parliament has passed a new law banning the use of credit cards for online betting.

This significant move, widely endorsed by Responsible Wagering Australia (RWA) and its members, represents a major shift in the online gambling landscape in Australia. This development coincides with notable events in the gambling sector, including a formal takeover bid for 888 Holdings, the owner of William Hill.

Legislation Aimed at Responsible Wagering

The CEO of RWA, Kai Cantwell, has expressed strong support for this legislation. In a recent press release, Cantwell stated: “This is an important measure to protect customers and their loved ones, making it easier for people to stay in control of their own gambling behavior.”

He emphasized that this ban will complement the existing safer gambling tools provided by RWA members, aiding customers in maintaining control over their betting habits.

Despite backing the legislation, Cantwell pointed out its limitations, particularly the exemption of lotteries and keno from the ban.

He noted, “It is disappointing to see that lotteries and keno have been exempted from the ban, especially when lotteries are the most prevalent form of gambling in Australia.” He highlighted the significant losses Australians incurred on lotteries and keno, amounting to over $3.2 billion in 2020 and 2021, with a notable increase in online keno losses in Victoria.

RWA’s Ongoing Efforts and Challenges

The RWA has been instrumental in collaborating with the Australian Federal Government and financial services since 2021 to implement this credit card ban.

In addition to their advocacy, RWA participated in the 2023 GambleAware Week, promoting responsible betting relationships and support services. They also raised concerns about offshore operators bypassing Australian laws, taxes, and customer protections.

The new legislation arrives amidst ongoing challenges in regulating online betting services in Australia. These challenges have affected both tax revenue and customer protection. A recent example includes the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) issuing a formal warning to Best Bookies Price Pty Ltd for operating a betting service without proper licensing.

Our Comment on the Article

The Australian Federal Parliament’s decision to ban credit card financing of online betting is a significant step towards fostering a more responsible gambling environment.

This legislation not only aims to protect individuals from potential financial harm but also reflects a growing awareness of the need for ethical practices in the gambling industry. However, the exemption of lotteries and keno from this ban raises questions about consistency in applying these protective measures.

It underscores the complexity of regulating an industry deeply ingrained in Australia’s social and economic fabric. As the landscape of online betting continues to evolve, it will be crucial for legislators and industry leaders like RWA to navigate these challenges thoughtfully, balancing the need for consumer protection with the realities of gambling’s role in society.

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