Australia Set To Examine Potential Credit Card Limits for Online Gambling

The Australian Banking Association (ABA) has sought feedback from its stakeholders regarding imposing potential credit card limits on online gambling, as part of a larger initiative to protect its cardholders.

Some members of the ABA have expressed concern that its credit cards may act as enablers to problem gamblers. By possessing a credit card, problem gamblers who may not have full control over their actions can quickly rack up massive amounts of debt in a short period of time on their card and compound any losing streaks.

The financial stress and consternation from such episodes not only affect gamblers but their friends and family as well.

The ABA is attempting to determine the risks present in online gambling when using a credit card as well as seeking input on how the banking industry as a whole should react to online gambling.

Some of the key questions being raised by the ABA include: Should banks impose restrictions on the usage of credit cards in online gambling or prohibit their use entirely? Should banks differentiate between different sorts of gambling if they do restrict their credit card usage at online gambling sites?

Furthermore, if their banks do take this course of action, the ABA wishes to ascertain what the consequences are for its stakeholders, and whether a transition period is necessary during the implementation period.

ABA Decision Follows NCPFOW Regulations

Credit cards have been used for gambling purposes in gaming halls and casinos for almost 20 years, including making payment for lottery tickets and online sports bets. The ABA’s examination of its gambling policies follows the ban implemented by Australia’s National Consumer Protection Framework for Online Wagering (NCPFOW) in February 2018, which forbade extending credit lines to customers at online gambling sites.

The ABA has noted that while individual banks have taken steps to disassociate their credit cards from gambling operations, regulations for the entire industry may be needed to ensure that problem gamblers are better protected. Such a step would mirror what US and UK banks have done in recent times as they have proactively set measures for their users to prevent them from excessive online gambling.

This development comes at the heels of passing of legislation that aims to build a national self-exclusion register for problem gamblers, which will be handled by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) and a forthcoming technology partner.

Author: Lee Gomez