Australian senator Sterling Griff recently championed a new bill on behalf of the Centre Alliance. The proposed Interactive Gambling Amendment (Prohibition on Credit Card Use) Bill 2020 has sparked a flurry of debate since it was first tabled.
The official website for the Parliament of Australia states,
“The bill would amend the Interactive Gambling Act 2001 to prevent interactive gambling service providers from accepting payments by credit card (either directly or indirectly), create a criminal offence and civil penalty provision for a person who accepts, facilitates or promotes credit card payments for interactive gambling service and provides for the Australian Communications and Media Authority to enforce and review the new requirements.”
The Senate referred the bill to the Environment and Communications Legislation Committee on March 18 of 2021. This committee is projected to issue its report on the matter by July 30th and any parties wanting to make submissions have until April 29 to file them.
Online gambling in Australia is currently restricted to betting exchanges, TABs and bookmakers. A prohibition on casino-style games of chance still exists in the country as well as on in-play betting for sporting events. The country’s restrictions are strict, with operators licensed in foreign countries banned from operating within its borders.
Despite these constraints, Australian punters have used their will to find a way and put approximately $400 million on the line annually via online wagering.
The flouting of regulations by punters and operators has not gone unnoticed. In 2020, the Bank of Australia brought down the axe on all credit card transactions related to gambling and in March 0f 2021, some leading Aussie banks banded together to wipe out credit card gambling.
The anti-bill crew
Responsible Wagering Australia has emerged as the most prominent opposition to the proposed bill. This comes as no surprise, considering RWA’s membership, which includes major names like bet365, Unibet and Betfair.
RWA’s stance is that its members are being unfairly penalised and that the current laws and legislations work in favour of both companies and consumers. The organisation’s main argument involves the validity of the bill’s main principle, with RWA contending that no evidence supports the theory that credit card usage plays a part in increased problem gambling.
There are also naturally plenty of parties in favour of the tabled legislation, all of whom have compelling reasons for their support.