Australia Enforces Ban on Crypto and Credit Cards for Online Betting

Australia has implemented a ban on using credit cards and crypto for online betting, in an effort to curb gambling problems. This means Australians will no longer be able to wager using borrowed money or anonymous digital funds.

The Australian Associated Press reported Tuesday that the ban on online gambling payments extends to credit cards linked to digital wallets, cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, and any future forms of credit.

These new regulations mirror those of physical casinos, where credit cards are also banned. Interestingly, this doesn’t apply to online lotteries, which still accept credit card payments.

In the past, Australia had a thriving market for online casinos accepting cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. These transactions appealed to gamblers due to their speed and anonymity. One study even showed that in 2019, a significant portion (30.7%) of gamblers in Australia enjoyed online games using crypto.

Australia Strengthens Online Gambling Regulations

Kai Cantwell, CEO of Responsible Wagering Australia, called on the government to broaden this prohibition to encompass the exempted forms of gambling, the Associated Press reported.

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

Lawmakers voted in favor of the amendment to the Interactive Gambling Act 2001 late last year. Following this, a six-month transition period was initiated. Companies failing to adhere to the ban could face fines of up to AU$234,750 ($155,085).

The communications regulatory authority has also been granted increased authority to uphold the restrictions.

Further, the federal government is considering a proposal to gradually eliminate gambling advertisements over a span of three years. This suggestion was among 31 recommendations arising from a parliamentary inquiry on problem gambling.

Minister for Communications Michelle Rowland mentioned that the government would make further announcements regarding measures for preventing gambling in the future. “Australians should not be gambling with money they do not have,” she said.

Crypto Adoption on the Rise in Australia

Despite the ban, Australia is a major player in the crypto market, with a growing number of people owning and using crypto. In fact, the country ranks 9th in the world for crypto adoption, with 17% of the population owning crypto according to a recent report. This is even higher than the global average of 15%.

Further signaling growing acceptance, Australia recently approved two new exchange-traded products that allow investment in crypto assets.

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