The legal funding of online gambling and wagering accounts via credit cards in Australia has come to an end, with a new federal government law coming into force on Tuesday. 

Credit card gambling ban
Credit card deposits with Australian online wagering operators have been banned as part of changes to the Interactive Gambling Act 2001. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

The Albanese government spearheaded changes to the Interactive Gambling Act 2001, which featured a six-month transition period for wagering companies to impose the ban on credit card deposits as well as credit-related products and digital currencies.

The transition period has now come to an end.

Companies who fail to enforce the ban may be liable for fines of up to $234,750, with the new laws expanding the Australian Communications and Media Authority’s powers.

Several major wagering operators, including Sportsbet, have featured pop-up messages on their digital properties in the past few days advising customers that they can no longer fund their accounts with credit cards.

“Australians should not be gambling with money they do not have,” Minister for Communications Michelle Rowland said.

Clock ticks on the end of credit card gambling in Australia
Australian wagering operators are gradually phasing out credit card deposit methods ahead of a deadline set by the federal government.

 “Last year, the Albanese Labor Government committed to banning credit cards for online wagering – and we’ve delivered.

“This ban builds on the significant progress to minimise gambling harm that the Albanese Government has made over the past two years, which is already benefitting thousands of vulnerable Australians.

“Our commitment to ensuring that gambling takes place within a robust legislative framework with strong consumer protections remains steadfast, and we will have more to announce in due course.”

Responsible Wagering Australia (RWA), which represents many of Australia’s leading wagering companies, also praised the move.

“This is an important measure to protect customers, making it easier for people to stay in control of their own gambling behaviour,” CEO Kai Cantwell said. 

“It will complement the existing offering of safer gambling account management tools by RWA members.”

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Cantwell said RWA wanted the credit card ban extended to include lotteries and keno. 

“If consumer protection measures aren’t consistent across all forms of gambling it will incentivise vulnerable Australians to move to less-regulated types of gambling, where they are more at risk of harm,” he said.

“RWA members provide a range of tools to ensure people can gamble safely, many of which have been adopted by the Commonwealth Government as part of the National Consumer Protection Framework (NCPF).

“The NCPF is expected to be evaluated shortly and we look forward to engaging in this process to ensure that consumer protection tools are fit-for-purpose and support a safe and sustainable regulated gambling environment.”

It is estimated less than 5 per cent of deposits into wagering service providers came via credit cards or credit sources and WSP’s have been working at transitioning account holders away from this funding method over the past six months.

Last week, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese refused to put a timeline on when the government would respond to the 31 recommendations from the You Win Some, You Lose More parliamentary report. He said the issues being addressed were complex.

The media release from Rowland’s office on Tuesday said the government would announce its response in “due course”.