Bankers’ Association: Gambling Reform 'Unworkable'

Using national payment system against online gambling is not a good choice, says the Association

In light of recent Australian federal government review on gambling reform, the Australian Banker's Association has cautioned that any attempt to exploit national payments system in order to fight online gambling would be unworkable.

Namely, concern has been expressed by famous credit card operator Visa that trying to block financial transactions towards online gambling sites would have an impact on online shopping, as well.

In addition, the joint select committee on gambling reform has been warned by the chief executive of the Australian Bankers' Association, Steven Munchenberg, that trying to restrict financial transactions is ''not straightforward''.

''[If] Australia was identified as a jurisdiction where payment obligations may not be fulfilled in a certain and timely manner, it is possible that merchants and online service providers will refuse to accept business and payments from customers designated as originating from Australia,'' he said, adding: ''This would have a significant impact on the contestability of Australian businesses as well as the ability for Australian consumers to purchase online goods and services.''

Regarding the measure introduced by independent Senator Nick Xenophon that seeks to restrict financial transactions on prohibited internet gambling sites, its impact is being investigated by the government committee, which was also informed by representatives from Visa that blocking technology was unworkable.

The committee, which is headed by independent member of parliament Andrew Wilkie, heard evidence that Australians can easily reach 92 percent of the estimated 2,443 online gambling sites available on the internet, even though the Interactive Gambling Act banned local internet gambling sites from accepting money from Australian residents.

Whether or not this is going to affect the committee’s opinion is to be seen soon, as its report should be submitted to the federal government at the end of November.

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