Credit cards, crypto banned for online gambling

Australians are now banned from making online bets with credit cards and digital currencies as the government tries to stop them from gambling away money they do not have.

Credit cards linked to digital wallets, cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and any other new forms of credit are included in the ban.

It brings rules for online betting into line with land-based gambling regulations, however, there are no changes to paying for online lotteries, which still allow credit card payments.

Responsible Wagering Australia chief executive Kai Cantwell urged the government to extend this ban to these exempt forms of gambling.

“This is an important measure to protect customers, making it easier for people to stay in control of their own gambling behaviour,” Mr Cantwell said.

“‘If consumer protection measures aren’t consistent across all forms of gambling it will incentivise vulnerable Australians to move to less-regulated types of gambling, where they are more at risk of harm.”

The industry was given a six-month transition period, with the full ban taking force from Tuesday and any companies that don’t comply face fines of up to $234,750.

The communications watchdog has also been given expanded powers to enforce the restrictions.

The federal government is mulling a push to phase out gambling advertising over three years, which was one of 31 recommendations that came out of a parliamentary inquiry on problem gambling.

Communications minister Michelle Rowland said the government would have more announcements on gambling prevention in the future.

“Australians should not be gambling with money they do not have,” Ms Rowland said.

“This ban builds on the significant progress to minimise gambling harm that the Albanese Government has made over the past two years, which is already benefiting thousands of vulnerable Australians.

Recent gambling reforms include a betting self-exclusion register, which has already been used by 22,000 people.

From September, computer games with gambling-like content will be slapped with a mandatory minimum classification of R18+ while those with in-game purchases will be classified as M.



Rachael Ward and Kat Wong
(Australian Associated Press)


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