Australian bookmakers end opposition to credit card ban

Leading betting and gaming operators in Australia have dropped their opposition to moves by federal lawmakers to ban the use of credit cards for online wagering.

According to The Sydney Morning Herald, long-term opponents to the proposed ban bet365, Sportsbet and Ladbrokes have now made a u-turn and announced their support for the initiative. 

ASX-listed betting and lottery operator Tabcorp also announced last month that it would not oppose a ban on credit card use for online betting, but would continue to support the use of the payment method for the purchasing of lottery tickets.

Responsible Wagering Australia (RWA) – a lobby group representing some of the country’s largest betting and gaming incumbents – has also agreed to support the reform, working to develop a technical solution with the assistance of major banks and payments processing firms.

The trade association had previously stood with its member companies for some time in opposition to the ban, stating that there is no direct link between credit card payments for betting purposes and gambling-related harm.

Increased oversight of the gambling industry in Australia has become more and more prominent over the past year, with the state government of Queensland unveiling its four-month plan for the minimisation of gambling harm last month.

Additionally, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has also moved forward with the creation of a national-self exclusion service for the country, recruiting UK GAMSTOP developer Engine to conduct the project.

The new measures introduced to the Australian parliament aim to standardise betting and gaming regulations, bring oversight of online betting in line with the requirements expected of TAB outlets, gaming lounges and casinos, which are currently prohibited from allowing customers to take out cash advances from nearby ATMs.

Andrew Wallace MP, the Liberal Party House of Representatives member for the District of Fisher, has been a prominent supporter of the ban, arguing in February of this year that it was a ‘no brainer’.

“We know that people pay 22% or thereabouts in interest on their credit card balances — that’s a very dangerous mix,” the MP commented at the time.

“You can’t use a credit card to go into a TAB and gamble on the horses or the dogs, you can’t use a credit card at a casino, and you can’t use a credit card to gamble on the pokies.”

Opposition to the proposed ban still remains, however, with critics arguing that the prohibition of credit card payments would give a boost to illegal black market operators by restricting consumers choice on legal regulated sites.

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