Cryptocurrency and Credit Card Betting Ban in Australia gets approved by Lawmakers
In September 2023 we reported that Australia was considering a ban on credit cards and cryptocurrency. According to various sources, this proposal has now been approved in Parliament and is expected to be enforced from 2024, allowing a six-month transitional period for compliance. This transformation aligns online wagering practices with existing regulations governing land-based gambling establishments.
Government Commitment to Consumer Protections
Michelle Rowland, Australia’s Minister for Communications, emphasized the government’s dedication to ensuring gambling activities operate within a robust legislative framework with heightened consumer protections.
Rowland emphasized the commitment of the Albanese Government to ensuring that gambling occurs within a comprehensive legislative framework, bolstered by robust consumer protections. The ban, according to her, plays a pivotal role in realizing this commitment. The central principle guiding this decision is clear – Australians should not engage in gambling with funds they do not possess.
Financial Implications for Non-Compliance
Companies found in violation of the forthcoming regulations are slated to face substantial fines, exceeding AU$230,000. This stern approach is intended to discourage any attempts to circumvent the new rules.
Addressing the Cycle of Debt
The Australian Banking Association (ABA) hailed the regulatory shift as a crucial step in breaking the cycle of debt associated with gambling. Anna Bligh, the CEO of ABA, expressed approval. She pointed out that the newly introduced laws will rectify the illogical situation where individuals are barred from using a credit card at the betting counter in a TAB outlet or pub. However, paradoxically, they can still use the same credit card to gamble on a betting app within the same establishment.
Online Gambling’s Rapid Growth and the Closed Loophole
Recognizing the fast-paced growth of online gambling, Bligh stressed the importance of closing the existing loophole. She commended the Federal Government for taking decisive action on a matter of significant societal impact.
Criticism and Concerns
Despite the positive reception from some quarters, there are dissenting voices. Carol Bennett, CEO of the Alliance for Gambling Reform, expressed disappointment, asserting that the government’s measures are not sufficiently robust. Bennett voiced concerns about the influence of powerful lobbyists, stating, “This watered-down legislation just shows how the powerful gambling industry is clearly able to influence the two major political parties in Australia today.”
Loopholes and Exemptions
Bennett criticized perceived loopholes in the legislation, particularly the exemption of lotteries, including games like Keno, from the credit ban. She highlighted the potential for individuals to incur substantial losses in a short period, questioning the effectiveness of the current regulatory approach.
As Australia prepares for this landmark regulatory shift, the debate surrounding the efficacy of the measures underscores the complex dynamics between government policy, industry influence, and the need for robust consumer protections in the realm of online gambling.
The impending ban on credit card and cryptocurrency transactions in the gambling sphere marks a significant chapter in Australia’s ongoing efforts to create a secure and responsible gambling environment.
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