Australians have the reputation of spending the highest amount of money on gambling than any country in the world. The Australian government has been under pressure to regulate gambling in the country and protect players in the country. Queensland representative MP Andrew Wallace, for the longest time, has opposed gambling. Just recently, the MP announced that he had convinced major banks in Australia to block online gambling on credit. The country has already implemented a ban on gambling using credit cards at land-based casinos. However, the ban doesn’t apply to online gambling.
The Responsible Wagering Australia (RWA), the lobby that represents Neds, Sportsbet, Ladbrokes, and Bet365 among other popular companies, voiced its disagreement over the new push by the MP. According to the lobby, these are harsh measures and there’s no need for such. In Wallace’s defense, the high-interest rate on credit cards poses a high risk to gamblers and their families. To this point, banks such as Macquarie and Suncorp have already implemented the ban but as part of their policies. However, the country’s major banks claim the measures are difficult to implement.
According to Mr. Wallace, it’s not a question of whether there’s a desire or will to implement the ban. Instead, it’s about how the stakeholders go about implementing the ban. Furthermore, the MP added that he had already met with representatives from the Commonwealth Bank, NAB, ANZ, Westpac, and the ABA and all were in total agreement that gambling using credit cards should be banned, at least from a social justice point of view.
According to the agreement, lenders were in tandem with the fact that customers shouldn’t borrow money at a massive 22% interest rate and still be able to gamble with it. Of the four banks, only ANZ was on the record voicing its support for the ban.
The other three banks emphasized that they could only block the use of credit cards from being used but only at request. Nonetheless, they issued their support and vowed to collaborate with the government on upcoming changes.
Brent Jackson, Responsible Wagering Australia Chief Executive, argued that there’s no evidence to warrant the ban on the use of credit cards on online gambling. Therefore, the lobby group is against the proposed ban. Adding to this, Brent Jackson said the people generating the opposition against credit card gambling did so on moral grounds. Mr. Jackson further added that online gambling is extremely safe. In fact, safer than other forms of gambling, and that it’s bounded by strict legislation to ensure that remains the case.
However, Mr. Wallace is not letting off the gas pedal any time soon, saying he was prepared to go the long haul. In his words, “it’s a no-brainer” given that out of 10 Australians, eight are in favor of the proposed ban. He also asked the gambling operators to do the responsible thing and support the proposal, saying that gamblers can still use their debit cards to wager.