The Australian government introduced legislation that will ban online gambling using credit cards, and increase fines on companies who fail to comply with the new rules.
The Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill 2023 (Credit and Other Measures), which will be introduced into parliament today (Wednesday, 13 September), aims to outlaw credit card and credit related products as well as digital currency, which is used for online betting.
The proposal would give the Australian Communications and Media Authority expanded powers to ensure “strong and efficient enforcement”. The new provisions can also result in penalties of up to $234.750.
The industry and consumers will be given a six-month transition period, starting on the date Royal Assent. In the country, it is already illegal to use credit cards at land-based venues.
In an effort to ensure that the legislation is future-proof, the Minister of Communications will also have additional powers to ban additional credit products.
This proposal is based on a recommendation from a November 2021 parliamentary investigation that called for such a prohibition.
Michelle Rowland, MP Minister for Communications said: “It is as simple as that. People shouldn’t be betting money they don’t have.”
The Australian Government remains committed to protecting Australians against gambling harms.
“A ban on credit card gambling online will protect Australians who are vulnerable and their families.
I would like to thank all the stakeholders who contributed to this bill, such as harm reduction advocates and gambling and lottery providers. Also, payment banks and financial institutions.
The latest government initiative continues efforts to reduce harm caused by online gaming, following a recent wave of new policy initiatives.
The introduction of monthly activity reports outlining wins, losses and evidence-based taglines in place of ‘Gamble Responsibly” and national staff training are all part and parcel of this.
The BetStop National Self-Exclusion Register has also come into effect, allowing players to be excluded from all Australian licensed betting services for a duration of up to life.
By the end of this month, operators will also be required to perform mandatory customer pre-verification. This requires them to confirm a customer’s identity before they open a new account or place a wager.
In order to guide future measures, the government will also consider further recommendations from the parliamentary inquiry on online gambling.
Before the end of this year, a meeting of all state, territory and Commonwealth ministers who are responsible for online gambling will take place.
Amanda Rishworth, MP and Minister for Social Services explained that: “Since we came to power, we have prioritised the harm caused by gambling online. I am pleased to announce the passage of legislation banning the use credit cards.
The same rules should be applied to online gambling.
“We are serious about protecting Australians who are vulnerable from the harm that we know online gambling can bring. The new rules are aimed at punishing any platform that violates them.
“We know that reducing the harm caused by gambling online is not an exercise you can do and then forget about. I am looking forward to working with state and territory officials on how to continue to make this positive change.”