The Australian Senate has given its approval to the Interactive Gambling Amendment (Credit and Other Measures) Bill 2023, marking a significant move toward restricting the use of credit cards for online gambling in the country. This legislation, introduced in September and previously passed by the House of Representatives, aims to enact a near-blanket ban on credit cards, credit-related products, and digital currencies in the context of online gambling within Australia.
The comprehensive nature of the bill goes beyond the mere prohibition of credit card usage, encompassing several related measures. Notably, operators failing to enforce the ban could face fines of up to AU$234,750, emphasizing the regulatory stringency associated with the legislation.
While the bill received Senate approval, it is important to highlight that it will not immediately come into effect. The Australian government has outlined a six-month transition period, providing operators, payment providers, and consumers with a grace period to align with the impending rules. The transition period will commence upon the bill receiving royal assent.
The legislation has evolved through extensive consultations with various stakeholders, including operators, harm reduction advocates, wagering and lottery providers, and banking payment organizations. The collaborative approach seeks to address concerns related to responsible gambling and consumer protection in the evolving landscape of online gambling.
However, the decision to exclude certain forms of gambling, such as lotteries and keno, from the credit card ban has drawn criticism. Responsible Wagering Australia (RWA), a leading advocate for the ban, expressed disappointment at the selective exclusion. RWA CEO Kai Cantwell emphasized that a complete and uniform ban across all forms of gambling is essential to effectively reduce gambling harm.
The broader context of this legislation aligns with international trends, echoing measures taken by countries like Great Britain, which imposed a credit card gambling ban in 2020. The Australian bill reflects ongoing efforts to address concerns related to online gambling and ensure a responsible and regulated environment for consumers.
In summary, the Australian Senate's approval of the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill signals a pivotal moment in shaping the regulatory landscape of online gambling in the country. While stakeholders welcome measures to enhance consumer protection, discussions persist about the need for a more uniform approach to credit card bans across diverse forms of gambling to mitigate potential harm effectively.
By fLEXI tEAM