Senate Standing Committee on Environment and Communications Inquiry into the Interactive Gambling Amendment (Prohibition on Credit Card Use) Bill 2020
In March 2021, the Senate referred the Interactive Gambling Amendment (Prohibition on Credit Card Use) Bill to the Standing Committee on Environment and Communications.
The Salvation Army made a submission to this inquiry supporting the Bill and recommending the amendment proceed.
The objective of the proposed amendment is to reduce problem gambling among Australians by implementing a ban on the use of credit cards for online betting and creating a criminal offence and civil penalties for those who accept, facilitate or promote credit card payments for interactive gambling services.
The Salvation Army submission outlines the harm caused by gambling, which include relationship difficulties, health problems, emotional or psychological distress, financial problems, issues with work or study, cultural problems, and criminal activities, bankruptcy, homelessness, suicidal ideation, family and domestic violence.
Despite credit cards are banned from use in casinos and gaming lounges, there are no rules for gambling online. Online gambling has grown significantly throughout the last decade, particularly, during the COVID-19 pandemic, and credit card-enabled gambling allows significant debt to accumulate very quickly.
Gambling addiction is an impulse control disorder and the ease of using a credit card means that barriers or physical cues that can assist people to manage their impulses do not exist. This is particularly so when gambling online.
From our service areas, we have also seen how the limited identity verification procedures on many online gambling sites, allows substantial debt accrued in a person’s name by another person, such as a partner.
Lastly, The Salvation Army expressed our concern around the financial literacy required to understand the consequences of using a credit card for gambling, including fees for cash advances and interest rates of up to 29.49 per cent per annum.
The Standing Committee’s final report noted a number of critical arguments from The Salvation Army’s submission. Although the majority of the Committee did not support the Bill, The Salvation Army will continue to advocate to prevent the use of credit cards in online gambling.