Australia Introduces Strict Ban on Credit Cards, Cryptocurrency for Online Gambling

Australia’s House of Representatives has passed a bill that would ban the use of credit cards and cryptocurrency for online betting and gambling, following a previous ban on their use for land-based betting and gambling. This comprehensive approach is intended to address the issue of gambling addiction in the country.

The legislation, part of a wider gambling reform effort in Australia, faced opposition from gaming lobbyists. Despite these efforts, the House of Representatives maintained its support for the ban, backed by both major political parties.

Under the proposed legislation, gaming operators found violating the credit card ban could face substantial fines, with penalties reaching over AUD234,000 (US$149,058). This strict approach aims to deter operators from trying to circumvent the new regulations.

Similar measures have been implemented in other jurisdictions to combat the negative effects of online gambling, aligning with the government’s efforts to promote responsible gambling and protect vulnerable individuals from the potential harm caused by excessive betting.

The legislation now awaits discussion in the Senate, where further debates and amendments may occur. If the bill successfully passes through that chamber, gaming operators and financial institutions will be required to collaborate in adhering to the new regulations, with a proposed six-month grace period for stakeholders to adjust their practices and ensure compliance.

While this legislative milestone demonstrates Australia’s commitment to addressing the challenges posed by online gambling, there are concerns that some operators may attempt to bypass the ban by creating fake eCommerce websites to mask gambling purchases.

Australia’s online gambling landscape has long struggled with a lack of comprehensive regulation, leading many gamblers to seek alternatives from offshore operators. This raises concerns about consumer protection, responsible gambling measures, and potential illegal activities within the offshore market.

Responsible Wagering Australia has reported that offshore gambling could cost the government around AUD3 billion (US$1.91 billion) in lost tax revenue, and the offshore segment controls about 15% of the entire online gaming market. Efforts are being made to establish a regulatory framework for online gambling to protect consumers and generate revenue for the government.

Until such regulation is in place, the offshore market will continue to thrive and welcome changes that force gamblers to seek less restrictive online options.