The Australian Banking Association (ABA) has published its consultation paper, announced a year ago, that looks at the use of credit cards in online gambling.
The main aim of the study, carried out by ABA in partnership with UK polling firm YouGov, was to learn the public's views on the role banks and credit cards play in combating problem gambling.
The consultation started on December 5, 2019 and ended on March 5, 2020. Participants answered the following questions:
- What are the risks and concerns associated with playing with credit cards?
- Should the use of credit cards for gambling be restricted or banned?
- If so, should the restriction or ban apply to all forms of gambling?
- What are the possible consequences of a ban or restriction on the use of credit cards for gambling?
- Should there be a transition period before banks have to make changes or should a ban be implemented immediately?
The ABA received 40 written submissions from consumer representatives, online betting companies, Responsible Wagering Australia (RWA), academics, government agencies, gambling advisors and individuals. There were also 813 responses to the short survey on the Internet.
Majority for a ban on credit cards
Most of the respondents strongly advocated a ban on gambling with credit cards. The report, titled “Every Customer Counts”, highlighted the prevailing view that the risks involved, particularly for vulnerable populations, weigh heavily.
The survey found the following:
- 54% of those surveyed are in favor of a complete ban on credit card use for online gambling.
- 27% advocate daily caps.
- 7% are against any restrictions.
- 12% did not have a clear opinion on this question.
Tabcorp, Lottery West, the Australian Lottery and Newsagents Association (ALNA) and some registered lottery charities advocated that lottery products should be excluded from a ban because they caused minimal damage.
Tabcorp estimates that a ban on credit card payments could result in losses of between A $ 17 million and A $ 44 million. The company estimates that 37% of lottery players would play less if they couldn't use their credit card.
Some contributors noted that credit cards are already blocked from playing games of chance in land-based gaming venues such as casinos and pubs. Online betting providers are already accepting debit card payments, which limits players to only spending available money.
The player protection organization Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation explains:
While the use of credit cards at venues is not a legal option in many cases, people can use credit cards to make deposits into online betting accounts. […] A ban on the use of credit cards for gaming would provide substantial and beneficial protection that has been lacking since the advent of online betting.
In April this year, the UK banned the use of credit cards for gambling. Some lenders in Australia like Macquarie, Suncorp and Citi have already voluntarily banned it. After the report is published, some banks could follow suit.