ustralia’s Tabcorp Holdings said on Wednesday that it would not oppose any potential ban on Australians punting with their credit cars, provided that local newsagents were still able to sell lottery tickets to customers. The company also pointed out that the accelerated switch towards online betting during the pandemic has brought the need for greater intervention from the federal government to protect vulnerable Australians.
The Parliament is considering an overhaul of gambling laws to ban punters from using credit cards or e-wallets for online gambling in Australia. This change would bring internet betting in line with laws that govern casinos, TAB outlets, and gaming lounges and ban cash advances from nearby ATMs.
Tabcorp proposed that the Commonwealth take responsibility for gambling regulation through the establishment of a single national wagering regulator. However, Responsible Wagering Australia, the peak body representing foreign-owned bookmakers including bet365, Betfair, Ladbrokes, and Sportsbet, opposes the ban saying that there is no compelling evidence that indicates any direct link between the use of credit cards on online betting platforms and the incidence of problem gambling.
Tabcorp sustains that a nationwide harmonization of gambling regulations would be of greater benefit than just a credit card ban and would ensure integrity and consistency in the application and enforcement of laws. It would include a central point of licensing and regulation of online gambling companies to ensure adequate consumer protection.
The company also warned that there would be unintended consequences for customers, the racing industry, and lottery and newsagents in using technology to ban credit purchases. It says the industry would need a year-long transition period should a ban be implemented.
A recent survey by the Australian Gambling Research Centre found that before COVID-19, 62% of participants’ gambling was conducted online which grew to 78% during the pandemic.
Liberal Member of Parliament Andrew Wallace has led the push for a ban on gamblers using credit cards online, telling Parliament they faced high-interest rates and a high chance of loss that was deeply problematic for families.
Wallace said: “The states and territories have all banned the use of credit cards from places like TABs, from poker machines, from casinos and RSLs, etc. There’s one place you can still use your credit card to gamble, and that’s on the internet. We as the Commonwealth government control that space, and we need to do better than we are doing right now,” reports the Sydney Morning Herald.
Banks such as Citibank, Suncorp, and Macquarie have all made the decision to ban credit cards for gambling.