The Australian Government is working on amendments to the Interactive Gambling Act 2001 which will ban the use of credit cards for online gambling transactions in the country. The updated law is to be shared with the public within the coming months.
The Government will not be working on these decisions by itself but is relying on the input of relevant stakeholders. However, it is certain that the use of Bank Identification Numbers (from hereon to be referred to as BINS) will be imposed.
On the 28th of April 2023, the announcement was made and explained as a decision which has been made to protect Australian online gamblers and preserve their safety in online gambling environments.
The Government has also stressed that the laws regarding online gambling activities need to be on par with those on land-based gambling which in Australia do in fact ban the use of credit cards to make deposits into casinos.
It has also been highlighted that lotteries are in fact not included in this discussion as they are considered low-risk gambling activities which do not pose as much possibility of harm towards the players and their finances as the gaming options found online.
The focus of the Australian Government is the player's safety.
In Australia credit cards essentially allow cardholders to "borrow" money which they pay back the next month. This means that at the time at which the money is being used, it does not belong to the user. The user simply reimburses their spending the following month.
This makes it extremely dangerous for credit cards to be accepted as payment methods in online gambling spaces accessible by Australian audiences.
Communications Minister Michelle Rowland has summarized the argument by saying that Australian players can no longer be allowed to bet money which is not theirs.
This is not the only country which has made this decision. Australia actually seems to be following the United Kingdom's decision to impose the same ban back in 2020.
Limiting card use for players has seemed to somewhat control the risk players, especially vulnerable players, are in when gambling online.
Of course, this ban also works in favour of the country's financial status which will no longer be threatened by unpaid debts from cardholders.
Australia has been strongly pushing the idea of responsible gaming, and this is just another step authorities are taking towards enforcing this concept alongside numerous responsible gaming ads and slogans and BetStop.
The latter is an Australian service which allows players who no longer want to partake in online gambling to limit their own access and exposure to online casinos and their products.
The service was established by the Australian Communications and Media Authority which is also involved in the discussion regarding these changes in regulations.
It is estimated that Australian players lose around 25 billion AUD on online gambling activities every year.
This translates to one of the highest rates of gambling losses worldwide.
In addition, Responsible Wagering Australia has calculated that between 15 to 20% of online gambling transactions in the country are made using credit cards.
These shockingly high figures accentuate the necessity of the change in laws in Australia, with a lot of emphasis being put on protecting vulnerable Australian players and their families, who are also at risk in the case of bankruptcy.
The Australian Government's decision is being backed up by Responsible Wagering Australia, an organization of which many of the members are well-known casinos and casino operators such as Unibet, Betfair and bet365.
It is becoming painfully clearer that Australian online gamblers should gamble using their own funds.
In light of this, the Government of Australia is introducing BINs to control how credit cards can be used by cardholders.
The same system adopted in the UK will be put in place in Australia.
BINs, which as we described earlier are Bank Identification Numbers, can be used to block the possibility of making transactions at certain places in cards. In this case, it is online gambling platforms which will be blocked.
This decision does not at all limit the number of payment methods Australian players will be able to use to make deposits and withdrawals on their online gambling platforms.
Apart from the numerous online banks which are available for such transactions, which have been tried, tested and proven trustworthy, we are seeing a huge rise in interest from the players' behalf in investing in cryptocurrency.
The majority of online casinos these days have introduced the opportunity for players to make deposits using their crypto rather than fiat currencies, with the most popular payment method being Bitcoin.
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