Australia’s Labour Government Proposes A Ban on Credit Cards and Bitcoin in Online Gambling


A Pioneering Proposal

In an unprecedented move, the Australian Labour government introduced a bill targeting credit cards and digital currencies including Bitcoin in Internet betting platforms, which could have far-reaching consequences on the gaming business. The worst part is that this comes in the wake of an uprising of Bitcoin gambling in Australia.

Companies failing to comply will face penalties, potentially reaching USD 150,470 or more, if the regulation passes. Protecting vulnerable populations from the negative results of excessive gaming is the ultimate goal of this policy.

The Context

This proposed bill is not a standalone action but an extension of existing regulations that already limit the use of credit cards in brick-and-mortar betting establishments. Michelle Rowland, the Communications Minister representing the Labour government, emphasized the significance of this legislative move. “The core principle is straightforward: people should not be wagering with funds they don’t possess,” she explained.

Industry Response

Responsible Wagering Australia, the apex body for the gambling industry in the nation, has expressed its endorsement of the Labour government’s proposed prohibition on credit card usage in online gambling. Moreover, the bill incorporates clauses that would empower the minister to ban any forthcoming credit-related products, thereby ensuring that the legislation stays current in an era of rapid technological advancements.

A Grace Period

If the bill secures parliamentary approval, both industry stakeholders and consumers will be afforded a six-month grace period to modify their operational models and gambling practices to align with the new rules.

This adjustment period is part of the Labour government’s multifaceted approach to tackling problem gambling, which also includes additional measures like the issuance of activity statements each month detailing wins and losses, as well as the creation of BetStop – a national self-exclusion registry.

The Financial Impact of Gambling

Statistics from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare paint a grim picture, revealing that Australians squander an estimated AUD 25 billion (USD 16 billion) annually on legally sanctioned gambling activities. These alarming figures underscore the pressing need for regulatory intervention.

The Digital Currency Clause

A unique and noteworthy aspect of this proposed bill is its focus on digital currencies, including Bitcoin. The legislation aims to deter individuals from acquiring cryptocurrencies via credit cards for the express purpose of online gambling.

Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth accentuated the importance of this provision. “The regulatory framework that applies to terrestrial gambling should be uniformly extended to its online counterpart,” she contended.

Looking Ahead

The Labour government’s proposal is in sync with recommendations from a parliamentary inquiry advocating for the gradual elimination of gambling advertising over three years. Federal, state, and territory ministers are slated to convene later in the year to deliberate on further modifications to online gambling laws.

A Global Perspective

Australia is not an isolated case in contemplating such protective measures. Earlier this year, the Swedish Ministry of Finance also floated the idea of prohibiting all credit card transactions across diverse gambling sectors. Their exhaustive report disclosed that certain companies had exploited legal loopholes, offering credit indirectly via third-party services.

The Ripple Effect

Proposed legislation by the Labour government could have significant consequences, acting as an example for others to follow. Critics might say that these actions violate individual freedoms, but the main focus is creating a safe and reliable gambling ecology. Protecting the most sensitive areas of society requires adapting legislation alongside technological advancements.

What About Ethics?

Legal and financial aspects aside, ethics come into play here too. With a focus on socially responsible actions, the Labour government has launched an initiative that addresses the negative social consequences of problem gambling, including family problems, mental health concerns, and financial difficulties.

What Does The Future Of Australian Online Gambling Look Like?

With the increasing interconnectivity and digitization of the world, Labour’s proposed regulations may provide a framework for other nations. Digital currencies, like Bitcoin, stand out as particularly notable in the bill, highlighting an acknowledgment of shifting e-commerce trends. Online gambling will become safer and more controlled if the government follows a proactive policy.

What Does The Public Have To Say About This Proposal?

It seems that the opinions on the bill are evenly divided within the public. A potential consequence of the proposed legislation, some claim, is an increase in gambling activity through illegal and overseas sites, thus intensifying the issue it seeks to address. Protecting vulnerable individuals and upholding the integrity of the online gambling sector in Australia requires a well-regulated and transparent approach, according to the Labour government.


If passed, the Labour government’s bill could represent a landmark moment in Australia’s online gambling regulatory framework. Addressing present concerns while safeguarding against prospective threats, the government extends the prohibition to cover digital currencies such as Bitcoin. While the debate over individual freedom versus collective responsibility will continue, the ultimate aim is clear: to establish a more secure and accountable gambling environment.

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