When it comes to countries that often overstep when it comes to “protecting” their citizens Australia is high up the list. The country is so well known for its overbearing regulations and legislation that in many industries it is cheekily referred to as a “nanny state.
A nanny state is any region where the government treats the people like children, determining what they can watch and spend their money on among other things. It takes away personal responsibility and self-determination and replaces them with regulations.
Credit Card Gambling Gets the Boot
The Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) has put forward a proposal that online gambling using credit cards as a deposit or withdrawal method be banned in Australia.
The bill entitled Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill 2020, the Prohibitions on Credit Card Use, was supported using data from the UK Gambling Commission who enacted the same restriction on 14 April 2020.
In particular, the bill focused on the fact that in Great Britain 22% of all online gamblers who deposited via credit card fell into the “at-risk” or “problem gambler” basket. With 36% of credit card gambling taking place when no access to cash money was available.
Various Australian government bodies and oversight committees such as the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) and Alliance for Gambling Reform were invited to table their opinion on the proposed bill, and unsurprisingly they were all in favour of it.
Withdrawal Reversals Come Under Fire
In addition to a ban on deposits and withdrawals via credit cards, the bill also put forward the option to ban players from refunding requested withdrawals back to their player accounts.
Once again, the AIFS is following the example of the United Kingdom in this regard as the same ban was written into law when they implemented the ban on credit deposits.
Should the AIFS succeed in adding this amendment to the credit card ban bill Australian gamblers will not be allowed to cancel a withdrawal should they decide to rather gamble online than cashing out a portion of their winnings.
The Missing Part of the Puzzle
What the Australian gambling policymakers are ignorant of, or choosing to ignore, is that the UK is not the best example of a balanced and respected jurisdiction anymore. They have been heavily criticised in the media for their kneejerk approach to handling gambling in the country.
Rather than create fair and balanced regulations their tendency is to implement punitive measures that harm their relationships with operators and tarnish their reputation in the market.
While the UK has proudly announced the success it has had in reducing online gambling via credit cards their overall gambling stats do not show a marked decrease in activity nor any movement in their problem gambler data.
Players are either withdrawing their money and depositing via direct bank transfers, in person at casino cashiers where available or funding web wallets. Failing that these gamblers will simply seek out casino entertainment at unregulated offshore operations removing them completely from the Gambling Commission’s protection.
If the intention of the regulation is to help players decrease their spending, then banning reversals makes no sense as the option allows players to use funds that are technically already “in the casino” rather than making an additional deposit where they could be tempted to overspend.
The facts are that Great Britain is struggling to balance its responsibilities to both the players and the casinos which pour millions in taxes, salaries and general spend into the local economy each month – and following their example could end up doing Australia more harm than good.