Bookmakers Warn Credit Card Ban Detrimental To AUS Gambling Industry

Australia-facing sports betting companies say a ban on online gambling credit card use could have devastating effects on wagering profitability and could be a big hit for the nation’s racing industry.

Bookmakers responded to the call for views from the Australian Banking Association on the use of credit cards for gambling purposes, and whether such limits should be enforced.

Early this year the UK Gambling Commission announced that it would enforce a ban on credit card gambling from April. In the UK, the impending ban sparked debates as to whether Australia should be following suit.

Australian-facing sports betting companies, however, argue that the UK and Australia are two completely different markets, and while in the former the credit card ban may not have a huge negative effect on the industry, that isn’t really the case in Australia.

In December, the Australian Banking Association called for public views on “the place of a credit card and its use for gambling.” Australia only permits the use of credit cards to make sports bets online. These are not available at retail gaming facilities.

The banking association asked community members to voice their opinions on whether to prevent or limit the use of credit cards for gambling and how this would affect the bookmaking industry. All able to share their views with the association had to do so until March 4.

Dean Shannon, Chief Executive of Ladbrokes Australia, said that if a credit card ban is enforced, Australian racing, driven by wagering turnover, will see a decrease of more than 30 per cent in wagering value. Mr. Shannon went on to say that he believes such a ban “would be quite short sighted and the flow on effects that would spin the racing industry into decline.”

The executive also pointed out that “a ban would primarily effect social punters because those are people who are used to buying online with a credit card for convenience in Australia.” According to Tabcorp, Australia’s biggest bookmaker, a ban on using credit cards for gambling will significantly limit the choices available to the majority of betting Australia who wager within their means.

Tabcorp also predicts that if a ban were enforced, that would result in a decrease of more than A$ 10 million annually in distributions to the nation’s racing industry.

Another wagering operator responded to the call for views from the Australian Banking Association by claiming that around 80 percent of its customers use credit cards to position wagers due to their convenience.

In her appeal for an opinion on possible credit card limits or an outright ban, Australian Banking Association CEO Anna Bligh said in December that banks have “an important role to play in helping tackle the issue of problem gambling” and that the banking industry has been “assessing a number of options to help tackle problem gambling.”