Financial counsellors are delighted that common sense has prevailed, with the gambling industry announcing they will support a ban on the use of credit cards for gambling.
The community would expect nothing less.
The ball is now in the Government’s court, with the next step to introduce effective legislation, including adequate power for the regulator. We need to make sure this ban works as intended and covers all forms of credit.
Responsible Wagering Australia (RWA), the peak body for the major online gambling operators, announced on 12 August 2021 that it will introduce an industry ban on credit card funded gambling across their membership. It comes a week after TABCorp broke ranks and announced it would not oppose a potential ban.
Financial Counselling Australia (FCA), the peak body for financial counsellors, welcomes both the announcement by RWA as well as the role played by banking industry, through the Australian Banking Association, in reaching this sensible policy position.
“It is excellent news that the gambling industry and the banks accept that gambling with credit is dangerous and can exacerbate problem gambling,” said Lauren Levin, the Director of Policy and Campaigns at FCA.
“With these two sectors on board, the sooner the Federal Government can act the better,” Ms Levin said.
“Financial counsellors see the devastating impacts that gambling has on the lives of individuals and families. Legislating to ban the use of credit cards will help reduce this harm.
“If we can prevent some families from being ruined financially, or prevent at least some gambling-related suicides, this is a huge win.
“We want regulation that has teeth so that the Federal regulator, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), is armed with penalties and other sanctions for those doing the wrong thing,” said Ms Levin.
The legislation needs to capture all the ways that credit card debt finances gambling, including via e-wallets, POLi Payments, payment platforms and new voucher businesses that exist solely to fund gambling.
Financial counsellors provide free advice on a wide range of financial matters, including:
- Help with gambling issues
- Assistance in dealing with debt
- Assistance accessing government grants and other relief
- Difficulties paying mortgages, rent or utility bills
- Negotiating with banks and other credit providers
- Accessing Centrelink payments
Financial counsellors are different to financial planners or advisors. They don’t provide investment advice nor are they lenders.
Anyone struggling financially can contact the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007 or visit ndh.org.au. Small business owners and sole traders can call the Small Business Debt Helpline on 1800 413 828 or visit sbdh.org.au.
Lauren Levin, Director of Policy, Financial Counselling Australia: 0411 050 035