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The previously announced ban on credit card and crypto-related gambling in Australia entered into force today (11 June).

Operators that fail to enforce the ban on credit cards, credit related products and digital currencies could face fines of A$234,750 (€144,011).

It follows the Albanese government’s late 2023 amendment of the Interactive Gambling Act 2001 that aimed to align online gaming with land-based regulations.

Minister for communications Michelle Rowland MP said: “Australians should not be gambling with money they do not have.

“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 benefitting thousands of vulnerable Australians.

“Our commitment to ensuring that gambling takes place within a robust legislative framework with strong consumer protections remains steadfast, and we will have more to announce in due course.”

Australian industry has had six-months to comply with the law, which also beefed-up the Australian Communications and Media Authority’s enforcement powers.

Australia mulls total gambling ad ban

The government said it is considering the 31 recommendations of the recent online gambling harms parliamentary inquiry, with it due to make new announcements “in due course”.

Among these was a total advertising ban, which had been rumoured to be among the measures that will be put into place by the government.  

Minister for social services Amanda Rishworth MP added: “Our government takes seriously our responsibility to prevent and reduce harm from online wagering.

“Our ban on credit cards will help with this goal. You can’t use your credit card to place a bet for land-based gambling and now the the same rules apply for online gambling.

“I am proud of the steps we have taken so far to protect vulnerable Australians but recognise there is still much to do – and we will keep working to create a safer environment for Australians at risk of gambling harm.”

Industry welcomed the introduction of the ban, with the online gaming trade body Responsible Wagering Australia (RWA) stating that is has always been a supporter of the measure.

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

“It will complement the existing offering of safer gambling account management tools by RWA members.

“RWA and its members support the extension of this measure to all forms of gambling that have been exempted from the ban such as lotteries and keno. 

“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.”

Ongoing regulatory tightening

The measure is just the latest regulatory tightening implemented by the Australian government.

It comes as industry faces accusations it is enabling problem gambling and addiction.

The government has mandated customer ID pre-verification for all new online wagering accounts to prevent children and the self-excluded from gambling.

Operators are also now required to send their customers monthly active statements outlining wins and losses and are subject to nationally consistent staff training.

The country also launched its national self-exclusion register BetStop in August 2023.

More than 22,000 have signed up to the Australia gambling blocking service as of April 2024.

The government also changed the previous “Gamble Responsibly” message on betting advertising with new, evidence-based taglines.

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