Posted on: November 14, 2023, 06:50h.
Last updated on: November 14, 2023, 06:50h.
Australia’s House of Representatives has approved legislation that would prohibit the use of credit cards and cryptocurrency for online betting and gambling. This follows a previous ban placed on their use for land-based betting and gambling, forming a comprehensive approach to tackle what the government sees as a pervasive issue of gambling addiction in the country.
The legislation, which is part of a broader gambling reform initiative in Australia, faced strong opposition from gaming lobbyists. Despite their efforts to thwart the ban, according to the Australian Associated Press report, the House of Representatives didn’t sway, giving the measure support from both major political parties.
Under the proposed legislation, any gaming operator found in violation of the credit card ban could face substantial fines, with penalties reaching over AUD234,000 (US$149,058), depending on the severity of the breach. This stringent approach aims to create a strong deterrent against operators attempting to circumvent the new regulations.
Say No to Plastics
The ban is not without precedent, as similar measures have been implemented in other jurisdictions to curb the negative effects associated with online gambling. The move aligns with the government’s ongoing efforts to promote responsible gambling and protect vulnerable individuals from the potential harm caused by excessive betting.
The legislation now awaits discussion in the Senate, where further debates and amendments may occur. If the bill successfully passes through that chamber, gaming operators and financial institutions will be required to collaborate in adhering to the new regulations. A proposed six-month grace period provides a transitional window for stakeholders to adjust their practices and ensure compliance.
This legislative milestone underscores Australia’s commitment to addressing the challenges posed by online gambling. It signals a significant step forward in the broader conversation around responsible gaming practices.
However, if history repeats itself, some operators may try to cleverly circumvent the ban. There have been instances where gaming operators have created fake eCommerce websites in order to receive approval to process credit card purchases. They then mask the gambling purchases through the sites.
Offshore Gambling Market Welcomes Changes
Australia’s online gambling landscape has long grappled with the absence of comprehensive regulation, creating a void that the offshore market has readily filled. The lack of a regulated framework for online gambling in the country has led many gamblers to seek alternatives from offshore operators, where a multitude of options are available.
This situation raises concerns about consumer protection, responsible gambling measures and the potential for illegal or unscrupulous activities within the offshore market. The absence of a regulated online gambling environment also means that Australians may not benefit from the same level of oversight and player safeguards that regulated markets offer.
Responsible Wagering Australia reported a few months ago that offshore gambling could cost the government around AUD3 billion (US$1.91 billion) in lost tax revenue. The organization representing gambling operators in the country added that the offshore segment controls around 15% of the entire online gaming market.
Efforts have been made to address these issues, with ongoing discussions and proposed reforms in the Australian government to establish a comprehensive regulatory framework for online gambling. Such regulation could protect consumers and also generate revenue for the government.
Until that happens, though, the offshore market will continue to survive. It will also welcome changes that force gamblers to seek out less-restrictive online options.