After a local bank became the latest to ban credit card purchases for gambling purposes, Australia’s gamblers would need to find other funding outlets.
Bank Australia, a Kew-based amalgamation of hundreds of local credit unions, has recently told its clients that, effective December 1, it will block “all gambling and gaming transactions” on its credit cards.
In its list of industries to which cash will not be lent as part of its responsible gambling policies, Bank Australia had previously included gambling. Other banned industries include tobacco, fossil fuels, firearms manufacturers, and the sale of live animals.
The bank reported that 87 percent of its clients endorsed this shunning of “casinos, online gaming operators or businesses that derive revenue directly from poker machines or sports betting.”
The business said it supports the “right” of its customers to gamble, but crafted its strategy because the more banks obtain funding from gambling operators, “the more prevalent and accessible they become.” Depriving them of funding provides the ability to “limit the growth of these companies” as well as the potential for gambling problems.
Bank Australia has not been the first Aussie financial institution to impose gamblers’ banking restrictions. Last year, Macquarie announced that it would forbid customers from using their cards for gambling or lottery transactions, while other banks opted for customer-specific transaction blocking solutions rather than an outright ban, including Bank of Melbourne, Commonwealth Bank and Westpac.
The National Australian Bank (NAB) became the first to allow clients to block gambling transactions via its iOS banking app last December. This February, the NAB added Android features and said last month that the anti-gambling feature on over 50k debit and credit cards had been enabled.
A public consultation was launched last December by the Australian Banking Association (ABA) to decide “the role of banks in addressing” problem gambling rates. The findings of this consultation are yet to be published by the ABA, but it is hard not to imagine public reaction mirroring this anti-gambling narrative, considering the current media climate.
The potential to limit gambling activity through its goods has been implemented by various UK financial companies, including Barclays, Lloyds, HSBC, Monzo and Starling Bank. Last month, Barclays announced plans to tighten its restrictions by forcing clients who seek the removal of their self-imposed gambling blocks to have a 72-hour time out.