Australia May Prohibit Credit Cards and Digital Currencies in iGaming

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by Charlotte Wilson
| 18/09/2023
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Australia May Prohibit Credit Cards and Digital Currencies in iGaming

In a new attempt to protect passionate Australian gamblers engaged in their favourite pastimes while also stopping them from wagering with money they do not actually have or can afford to lose, the country’s government may prohibit the use of credit cards and credit-related products on online real money casinos.

What Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill 2023 May Include

Communications Minister Michelle Rowland has expressed a series of plans to prohibit credit cards as banking methods used by online players. The measure would be used as a means of stopping fines related to gambling, as well as to put an end to cases of gambling-related harm. 

The ban would be included in the Interactive Gambling Amendment (Credit and Other Measures) Bill 2023 and it would also prevent players from using digital currencies when making deposits, issuing withdrawal requests online, or wagering on their favorite games or sports events.

Additionally, to bill would enable the minister to prevent gamblers from using credit cards for freshly released products in the future. In return, this would allow Australia to stay ahead of gambling companies and gain an advantage over them. 

Similar measures to put a ban on credit cards have already been implemented by land gambling facilities in Australia. However, given the relatively new nature of the online gambling vertical in the land Down Under, the legislation in this department still has some catching up to do. 

Six-Month Transitioning Time for the Industry

Nonetheless, while the proposed measure, which is primarily intended to keep at-risk consumers in the country protected against the specific dangers of gambling-related harm while used as a means of "future proofing" the legislation, would allow a six-month transitioning period prior to coming into full effect. This would allow both gambling companies and players alike to get properly acquainted with the new changes and make sure they are ready to fully embrace them. 

After the half-a-year accommodation period (from the date of Royal Assent) would come to an end, gambling companies that would violate the new regulation would risk fines of up to AUD 234,750 ($150,000). The new legislation was getting ready to be introduced by the Albanese Labor Government to Parliament on September 13, 2023.  

Origins of the Proposal

The new measure presented by the Honorable Michelle Rowland MP who is also a member of Greenway joined by the Honorable Amanda Rishworth MP, Minister for Social Services, and Member for Kingston, has its origins in a parliamentary probe into iGaming that was initiated in 2021. The Parliamentary Joint Committee Inquiry emphasized the long-term effects of gambling facilitated with the help of credit cards. While players affected by the use of credit cards in gambling are rather few to the problem, the actual harm related to using this payment option was considered too severe to not take notice of it. 

Hon Michelle Rowland MP thanked the large number of stakeholders, "including harm reduction advocates, wagering and lottery providers, and banking payment organizations" for their important contributions toward making the Bill possible.  

Experts from the country also expressed their views that the financial harm triggered by gambling on credit could not only affect the players themselves but also the lives of their relatives. This is why the Interactive Gambling Amendment (Credit and Other Measures) Bill 2023 was warmly received by Responsible Wagering Australia, which is the independent body for wagering service providers that carry an Australian license.

If given the green light, the new Bill would extend the Australian Communications and Media Authority’s powers to nurture and guarantee "strong and effective enforcement of the new and existing civil penalty provisions under the Act".  

The National Consumer Protection Framework

Since it came to the Government, Labor has made a priority out of cutting the harm triggered by online gambling. This included the implementation of the final measures under the National Consumer Protection Framework, with the introduction of monthly activity statements that would showcase wins and losses, along with fresh evidence-based taglines that would be used instead of the "Gamble Responsibly" tags, and professional training for staff members of online gambling companies. 

BetStop, the National Self-Exclusion Register that enables Australians to self-exclude from all licensed wagering services in the country for a pre-defined period of three months up to a lifetime, would also be introduced into the same framework. 

Additionally, the government would include mandatory pre-verifications on customers, asking service providers to check new customers' identities when signing up for new accounts and prior to placing their bets. A meeting of ministers representing state, territory, and Commonwealth involved in online wagering nationally will take place before the end of the current year. 

To make sure they will always benefit from the perks of joining and gambling at 100% legit, licensed casinos with reputable gambling restrictions, players are advised to rely on CasinosHub for the most up-to-date banking methods, and also as the number one guide to finding the best casinos online where they will find in-depth casino reviews of premium online casinos, along with the freshest no deposit casino bonuses, and online casino promotions.

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