Tabcorp Will Not Fight a Credit Card Ban

Tabcorp supports a credit card ban, do you?

Australian gambling giant Tabcorp will not fight a potential credit card ban on gambling transactions. However, its stance could change if local newsagents are prevented from offering lottery tickets to customers.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has changed how Australians gamble. Massive numbers now use online services instead of visiting bricks-and-mortar venues. Tabcorp is aware of this trend, and states more serious measures are needed to protect Aussies from gambling-related harm.

Parliament is considering a credit card ban for all gambling-related transactions. Furthermore, digital wallets, including Neteller and Skrill, are under threat. The government wants to bring online gaming in line with regular casinos, and TAB outlets.

Not everyone shares Tabcorp’s views, and is against a credit card ban. Responsible Wagering Australia, a trade body that represents the likes of bet365, Betfair, Ladbrokes, and Sportsbet, is against a credit card ban. The body claims there is no true evidence connecting gambling addiction and the use of credit cards.

Ladbrokes Australia’s chief executive, Dean Shannon, warned a credit card ban will negatively affect Australia’s racing industry.

“Racing is driven by turnover and if you take away the credit cards, I would say, at a guess, it would affect 30 percent plus of turnover. I think a ban on credit cards would be quite short-sighted and the follow-on effects that would spin the racing industry into decline.”

Study Shows Australians Support a Credit Card Ban

The Australian Banking Authority (ABA) released the results of its Every Customer Counts survey in late-December 2020. The in-depth report revealed some interesting statistics, not least a large percentage of Australians support a credit card ban.

ABA issued a survey to 813 people that asked about their gambling habits, their opinion on credit card gambling. A staggering 81 percent of Aussies want a complete credit card ban or at least restrictions imposed.

Sixty-one percent of those surveyed who had never gambled, want a full ban. Eighteen percent want a daily spend limit, with only five percent happy with how things stand.

Even 41 percent of regular gamblers are in favour of a blanket ban. Almost as many, 34 percent, support daily caps on credit card spending.

The survey showed gambling with credit cards is not as prevalent as one thinks. Eighty-two percent of those questioned never used this banking option. Only four percent say this is their usual deposit method.

Australia Is Following in the United Kingdom’s Footsteps

A total ban will see Australia follow in the United Kingdom’s footsteps. The UK Gambling Commission, the regulatory body in the UK, issued a total credit card ban on April 14, 2021. This happened because 10.5 million of the 24 million British adults who gamble regularly bet online. Some 800,000 of those rely on credit cards to make deposits onto gaming sites. A study showed 22 percent of those 800,000 are classified as problem gamblers.

Some Australian banks do not allow the use of credit cards for gambling purposes. Macquarie banned their use almost two years ago. Bank Australia followed suit on December 1, 2020, informing its customers via email.

“The Australian Banking Association has renewed a discussion with its members, including us, about taking steps to prevent harm to customers. This means many other banks are also taking steps to limit gambling on credit cards. You can still gamble with your money, such as via your Visa Debit card.”

How credit cards work is the main issue here. Card issuers give users up to 56-days grace before requesting repayment. This means gamblers can use funds to gamble that they do not have. In addition, issuers often treat gambling transactions the same way as cash withdrawals. These come with a transaction fee of a few percent, increasing the cost to the user.

Most people using credit cards for gambling do so responsibly. However, many do not, and it is easy to see how they can end up in financial trouble.