Financial Counselling Australia (FCA) welcomes the announcement by the Government that it will ban the use of credit cards for online gambling.
“We should never have to discuss credit cards and gambling in the same sentence ever again,” said Lauren Levin, FCA’s Director of Policy and Campaigns.
Financial counsellors see too many clients where credit cards have been used to finance gambling.
“In 2018, the Federal Government legislated to prevent gambling companies giving people credit to gamble. The amount spent on gambling dropped for a few weeks, but then people experiencing problems with gambling turned instead to credit cards.
“Online gambling also increased during the pandemic, and a lot of it was also funded by credit cards,” said Ms. Levin.
If reforms leave a gap, that is where the money inevitably flows. With this in mind, we urge the Government to re-consider the proposed lotteries carve-out in the new legislation.
The principle is the same – ‘no one should be betting with money they don’t have’ – whether they are spending $200 on a lottery syndicate or with online gambling, whether they are spending in the local newsagent or on sports betting.
“Credit and gambling do not go together, even if a percentage of the amount gambled ends up funding a good cause,” said Ms Levin.
We also need:
- to reframe gambling as public health issue, like the overuse of alcohol or drugs. All of these products need to be provided safely
- to change our language from not just minimising harm, but to actually preventing it
- a completely new gambling act with the objective of preventing gambling harm
- a whole-of-government approach to preventing harm.
“The real impact of the harm from gambling was brought home to me again just today. I was told by a financial counsellor about another young person who tonight is sleeping in his car because of $500,000 spent with a single, licensed operator. The operator ignored his plea to unsubscribe. This cannot go on.” said Ms Levin.
We look forward to working with the Federal Government on a new agenda of harm prevention.
Media contact: Lauren Levin 0411 050 035, [email protected]