The ACT Council of Social Service (ACTCOSS) has made a submission to the Australian Federal Parliament calling on all parties to act to protect Australians from gambling harm by restricting the use of credit cards for online gambling.
ACTCOSS and the Canberra Gambling Reform Alliance (CGRA) made this plea through their submissions to the Senate Standing Committees on Environment and Communications Inquiry into the Interactive Gambling Amendment (Prohibition on Credit Card Use) Bill 2020.
Dr Emma Campbell, ACTCOSS CEO said: “ACTCOSS supports this amendment, which would prevent online gambling service providers from accepting credit card payments. This brings legislation governing online gambling companies in line with other forms of gaming in Australia.
“You cannot use a credit card at the casino or to play the pokies at any club in Canberra. It is accepted that this is a reasonable measure to reduce gambling harm.
“The use of credit cards to gamble can lead to a rapid accumulation of large amounts of debt. Paying cash advance interest rates on these losses compounds the problem.
“Australians are ranked number one in the world in terms of gambling losses. In the ACT, total gambling losses in 2017-18 amounted to $242.7 million or $749 per capita. This level of harm cannot be sustained by our community.
“Gambling harm has a ripple effect, impacting not just the individual but also those who surround them: children, partners, parents or siblings, friends, employers and colleagues.
“It should be noted that there is recognition within the banking sector that the use of credit cards for gambling is deeply problematic. A report by the Australian Banking Association described the use of credit cards for gambling as having the potential to ‘create a unique harm’, and some financial institutions have already put restrictions on the use of credit cards for gambling transactions.
“As online gambling cannot be regulated by individual states and territories, a consistent national approach is needed to mitigate associated harms,” concluded Dr Campbell.
ACTCOSS has also written to party leaders and crossbenchers to ask that they support this bill.
ACTCOSS advocates for social justice in the ACT and represents not-for-profit community organisations.
For more information or comment, please contact
Dr Emma Campbell, CEO, ACTCOSS, on 0424 910 617 or 02 6202 7200.