In a significant move to protect vulnerable Australians from the perils of online gambling, the Australian Labor Party Government is set to introduce legislation that bans the use of credit cards and related financial products for online betting.
Under the proposed Interactive Gambling Amendment (Credit and Other Measures) bill, companies that fail to enforce the ban may face fines up to $234,750. The legislation aims to curb reckless spending that often leads to crippling debts and personal hardships.
In a prepared statement, Minister for Communications, Michelle Rowland, noted that “people should not be betting with money they do not have.”
As concerns about the social and financial consequences of gambling addiction grow, many countries are taking steps to tighten regulations on online wagering. In the UK, the Gambling Commission banned the use of credit cards on gambling transactions in April 2020. This ban was implemented after it was found that 22% of online gamblers using credit cards are problem gamblers.
Worldwide, consumers are struggling with debt—and cost-of-living pressures are impacting many households. In the U.S., data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York found that interest rates and inflation have crushed many consumers further into debt. In fact, household debt reached $17 trillion in Q1 2023.
Many consumers are already relying on credit to get by on everyday necessities such as groceries, and as Brian Riley, Co-Head of Payments at Javelin Strategy & Research noted last year, “disposable income is at risk as personal expenses rise and consumers have no additional income alternatives to utilize when accounting for necessary spending.”
It’s no surprise that many governments, including the Australian Labor Party Government, are aware of the crippling affects credit can have over many consumers. Taking these necessary steps to ensure consumers are not spending beyond their means is crucial.