A new piece of legislation passed in Australia this week has significant implications for the online gambling industry in the country. Casino News Daily reported that the federal government approved a ban on using credit cards for any online betting. After over a year of discussion, this legislation will likely impact local and offshore gambling sites.
According to industry analysts, removing credit as a payment option could shrink Australia's online gambling market, which was estimated to be worth AUD 1.4 billion in 2021. Operators rely heavily on credit card transactions, with some firms seeing over half their deposits made this way. While Australians will still have other options like bank transfers or e-wallets, the friction of added steps may deter more casual punters.
Proponents of the ban argue it is a necessary consumer protection move. Credit card gambling enables people to spend beyond their means and fall into severe debt. Problem gambling is a significant issue in the country, with over 15% of adults showing signs of addiction. Removing the ease and instant access provided by credit cards could curb harmful behavior.
However, critics suggest gamblers will just shift to alternatives like offshore sites without responsible gambling measures. Locally regulated bookmakers provide features like deposit limits, loss limits, and self-exclusion options. Punters may flock to illegal operators without these player protections if licensed sites become less convenient.
Ultimately, the impact of this ban remains to be seen. Australia's online wagering industry has multiplied in recent years but faces new hurdles. Both operators and policymakers will be monitoring consumer response closely. If problem gambling drops significantly, other countries may also pursue similar credit card prohibitions.
This legislation demonstrates Australia taking an aggressive stance in limiting online gambling risks, even at the potential cost of licensed businesses. Other jurisdictions grappling with internet betting regulation will watch the fallout.