FCA on the Credit and Crypto Gambling Ban

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Original media release by Financial Counselling Australia (13/09/2023).

Financial Counselling Australia (FCA) has welcomed legislation that will ban the use of credit cards for online gambling.

Legislation introduced today by the Federal Government will mean online gambling companies can no longer accept bets funded by credit cards, including cards linked to e-wallets. The ban will also cover the use of cryptocurrency and digital currencies.

FCA’s Director of Policy and Campaigns Lauren Levin said the legislation was a major win in the battle to reduce gambling harms in Australia and acknowledged ministers Michelle Rowland and Amanda Rishworth for their leadership on the issue.

“This legislation is terrific,” Ms Levin said. “We’re delighted that it covers not only credit cards, but also digital wallets and digital currencies.”

Ms Levin said digital currencies, including cryptocurrency, have made disturbingly large inroads into gambling overseas, so it was very pleasing to see the Government banning it.

“Digital currencies can have wild fluctuations in value, so not only do people speculate on their bets, but also on the movement in the digital currency. It’s great news that the Government is acting early on this.

“It’s also good to see the Government has future-proofed the legislation with ministerial discretion to add new prohibited payment methods.”

Ms Levin said the one area of disappointment was a carve-out for online lotteries.

“Online lotteries are not a simple scratch ticket. Some, like Kino Go, advertise draws every three minutes, and there are some products on the Lott website where you can easily spend $10,000 on credit.

“Online lotteries have changed the whole situation, as the danger of losing large sums is now just as high as someone gambling on online sports betting. There is no good reason for online lotteries to allow people to buy a $10,000 ticket on credit, or for people to enter a $3000 syndicate on credit. Gambling is gambling.”

Ms Levin noted that the industry had reacted with an online lottery advertising blitz.

“It’s coming fast and furious on our TVs and in social media, so the loophole is already being exploited.

“This latest manoeuvre by the online gambling industry, and the speed at which its tactics were developing, strengthens the argument for another parliamentary inquiry focusing just on lotteries.

“That loophole has to be closed. Paying with money you don’t have is never safe.”

Gamblers Help: 1800 858 858
National Debt Helpline: 1800 007 007 and ndh.org.au (online chat)

Note: Gambling financial counsellors help people impacted by gambling, both the person gambling and those impacted by someone else’s gambling. It is a free, independent and confidential service.