After Australian lawmakers signalled their readiness to carry forth with the measure earlier this year, the Australian Senate has finally approved new legislation that restricts the use of credit cards for online gambling in what many have seen as a long-overdue move to mitigate gambling harm in the country.
The bank will apply over the next six months, allowing for a grace period so that gambling operators may comply with the measure.
The legislation, the Interactive Gambling Amendment, seeks to address the changing dynamics of the gambling industry, and specifically tackle the issue that credit cards and other credit products cause.
The amendment also touches on digital currencies and restricts their use as well. The Senate voting is celebrated as a significant milestone and it reinforces the opinion of the House of Representatives, which also voted in favour of the measure in a bid to better safeguard Australian consumers from potential harm.
The legislation seeks to ensure that the measure would be upheld by every licensed operator, too, as lawmakers grant new powers to the Australian Communications and Media Authority, which will now be able to mete out punishments to offenders.
The estimated value of a penalty that has to do with breaching the credit card ban right now sits at around AU$235,000. The resulting law is the fruit of many stakeholders’ labours, as credit cards have been heavily criticised for serving as a gateway to gambling harm in the Down Under.
Australia has been working hard to ensure that consumers are protected though, with a newly- launched national self-exclusion program, BetStop, hailed as an early-day success.