Australian ban on credit card and crypto payments for online betting comes into force

Industry

Australia has enforced a new ban on the use of credit cards and cryptocurrencies for online betting, aiming to curb gambling-related problems. As of June 11, Australians can no longer place bets using borrowed money or anonymous digital funds.

The ban covers credit cards linked to digital wallets and cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, and it extends to any future forms of credit. These regulations align with those in place for physical casinos, where credit cards have long been prohibited. However, online lotteries remain exempt and can still accept credit card payments.

Australia has had a burgeoning market for online casinos accepting cryptocurrencies, which were popular for their speed and anonymity. A study revealed that in 2019, 30.7% of Australian gamblers used cryptocurrencies for online gaming.

Kai Cantwell, CEO of Responsible Wagering Australia, commended the government’s move and called for the ban to be extended to other exempted gambling forms. “This is an important measure to protect customers, making it easier for people to stay in control of their own gambling behavior,” Cantwell said.

The legislative change comes as a result of an amendment to the Interactive Gambling Act 2001, which lawmakers passed late last year. Following a six-month transition period, companies now face fines of up to AU$234,750 ($155,085) for non-compliance. The communications regulatory authority has been given increased power to enforce these restrictions.

Additionally, the federal government is considering phasing out gambling advertisements over three years, following recommendations from a parliamentary inquiry into problem gambling. Minister for Communications Michelle Rowland indicated that more measures would be announced to prevent gambling-related issues. “Australians should not be gambling with money they do not have,” she stated.

Despite these regulations, Australia remains a significant player in the cryptocurrency market. The country ranks ninth globally for crypto adoption, with 17% of the population owning digital assets, surpassing the global average of 15%. Reflecting this growing acceptance, Australia recently approved two new exchange-traded products for crypto asset investment.

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