Gambling with credit cards has met with widespread criticism across the regulated gambling markets worldwide. While governments are trying to address the issue, some banking companies are beginning to take note of the situation; especially, when there are active demands to completely ban gambling with credit cards gaining grounds.
The Australian Banking Association on Thursday released a consultation paper on the use of credit cards for gambling as it seeks public opinion on gambling on credit.
The release claims that banks in Australia have already been proactive about tackling gambling addiction and combating harms associated with problem gambling. It says the banks have introduced technology solutions such as tools to help customers track their spending, customer directed blocks, trained customer support teams, referrals to support services.
However, the question remains, is that enough? And if not, why is it that gambling with credit cards is allowed?
Earlier in July, Macquarie became the first major Australian bank to have banned gambling with credit cards. If Macquarie could do so, what is it that holds other banking companies is not a mystery.
In the UK, the Labour party has been up against the use of credit cards for gambling. In the run-up to the upcoming general elections, Labour is actively promising a full overhaul of the Gambling Act 2005 and the liberal democrats campaigning with a promise to ban gambling on credit.
In Australia, the use of credit cards is rampant for online betting and gambling. However, at land-based gambling facilities, the use of credit cards and ATM cash advance is prohibited.
CEO of the Australian Banking Association Anna Bligh said that banks had an important role to play in helping tackle the issue of problem gambling and were seeking feedback from the community.
“For many Australians gambling is a form of entertainment and recreation, however for some, it can become a problem that potentially has devastating consequences for the individual and their family,” Ms. Bligh said.
“As an industry, we are currently assessing a number of options to help tackle problem gambling.
“We are seeking feedback across the community on a number of important questions, which will then help banks as they each consider further reform on this issue,” she said.
The ABA in its release has mentioned certain specific questions and seeks public opinion and engagement on the same. The banking association wants the members of the public to respond to:
1. What are the risks and concerns associated with gambling with credit cards?
2. Should the use of credit cards for gambling be restricted or prohibited?
3. If so, should the restriction or prohibition apply to all forms of gambling?
4. What are the potential consequences of prohibiting or restricting the use of credit cards for gambling?
5. Should there be a transition period if banks choose to implement changes relating to credit cards?
In August this year, the UK Gambling Commission had launched a similar 12-week consultation. However, the findings did not motivate the government enough to ban gambling with credit cards.
For many, staging such public consultations is a delay tactic to keep the show running.
*** Access ABA’s release for public consultation on gambling with credit cards here: Australian Banking Association