The Australian Banking Association (ABA) finally unveiled the results of its consultation on the public opinions about the use of credit cards for gambling purposes and the role of financial institutions in addressing gambling-related harm. The findings were published in a report entitled Every Customer Counts and were based on the written submissions of forty gambling operators, governmental agencies, and problem gambling counsellors.
Also considered were the results of a web-based survey that involved 813 locals who were asked about their opinions on the use of credit cards for betting transactions. The vast majority of the survey participants expressed the opinion banks and financial institutions should cease processing gambling payments funded with credit cards.
The survey participants were randomly selected. Around 54% of the respondents said the use of credit cards for gambling should be altogether prohibited. Another 27% suggested caps should be enforced on the maximum gamblers who use credit cards can spend per day. Only 7% of the participants felt there is no need for restrictions while the remaining 12% had no opinion on the subject.
Aussies who regularly engage in gambling also participated in the survey, with 75% of them embracing the introduction of credit-card restrictions. As many as 41% of the regular gamblers spoke in favour of a total ban on credit cards while the other 34% favoured the enforcement of daily caps. The use of credit cards for gambling transactions was at its highest among young people aged 18 to 29 years old but declined considerably with advancing age.
These findings might spell trouble for credit-card gamblers if the financial industry in Australia moves to adopt an outright ban on such transactions. Some of the participants in the consultation pointed out the use of credit cards is already prohibited in brick-and-mortar gambling locations like TAB betting outlets, casinos, and pubs. Others noted online gambling operators give customers the chance to fund their balance with debit cards. This payment method restricts gamblers to using only money they already own.
Some Fear a Ban on Credit Cards May Drive Aussie Gamblers to Offshore Sites
Some of the contributors to the consultation argued against the prohibition of credit cards. Their arguments were based on the fact the gambling industry Down Under was already stringently regulated and this ban would not adequately solve the underlying issues behind compulsive gambling.
Others were worried banning the use of credit cards for gambling would have an adverse effect on retail lotteries. One such prohibition might also cause local gamblers to turn to offshore-licensed betting sites. Such operators not only support credit-card payments but also provide much greater versatility in terms of gambling products. By contrast, locally authorized websites offer a more limited range of options like lotteries, sports, and race betting.
The Australian Banking Association stressed that the report reflects the opinion of survey contributors. Individual members of the Association have to evaluate these findings themselves before they determine how to proceed. Some financial institutions in the country have already unveiled their decision to block gambling-related money transfers initiated via credit cards.
The most recent example is Bank Australia. As Casino Guardian reported back in October, the financial institution revealed it intends to stop processing gambling transactions via credit cards as of the beginning of December 2020.